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Title: Sporting Scenes amongst the Kaffirs of South Africa
Author: Drayson, A. W. (Alfred Wilks), 1827-1901
Language: English
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Sporting Scenes amongst the Kaffirs of South Africa,
by Captain Alfred W. Drayson.

________________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________
________________ SPORTING SCENES AMONGST THE KAFFIRS OF SOUTH AFRICA,
BY CAPTAIN ALFRED W. DRAYSON.



PREFACE.

Nearly every person with whom I have conversed since my return from
South Africa, has appeared to take great interest in the Kaffirs, the
wild animals, and other inhabitants of that country.

I am not vain enough to suppose that my friends have merely pretended
this interest for the sole object of allowing me an opportunity of
talking, and have thereby deluded me into a belief of affording
amusement.  But I really think that the opinions which they have
expressed are genuine, and that perhaps the same wish for information on
the subject of the Kaffirs, or the wild beasts of the Cape, may be more
widely extended than I have been able personally to prove.

Most men who have written on South Africa, have been either sporting
giants, scientific men, or travellers who have gone over ground never
before trodden by the white man.  I am neither of these.

The first I am not, for the blood spilled by me was but a drop compared
to the ocean that many have caused to flow in this land.

Unfortunately I am not scientific; but, perhaps, from this very defect,
I may become the more intelligible to the general reader of the
following pages, who may comprehend my simple names for simple things,
rather than those of a polysyllabic character.

I know that I have sunk miserably in the opinion of _savants_, in
consequence of my inability to tell whether or not the _Terstraemiaceae_
grew luxuriantly in Africa.  I only knew that the plains bore beautiful
flowers, and I learnt their Kaffir names; that the bush had fine trees,
some with, sweet-scented blossoms, others with fruit, and I knew which
fruit was good to eat.

By travellers, I may be considered presumptuous in attempting to write
on South Africa, when I never crossed the Vaal river or penetrated far
into the interior; but I must trust that they will pardon my temerity.
I was obliged, from circumstances, to pursue the game nearer my home,
which required "more patient search and vigil long," for the creatures
had become more wild or savage than those animals in the interior that
were seldom disturbed.

From sketches and a rough journal compiled on the spot, I have formed
this book.



CHAPTER ONE.

VOYAGE TO THE CAPE--DISCOMFORTS OF A LONG VOYAGE--THE WOLF TURNED LAMB--
PORPOISES AND PORTUGUESE MEN-OF-WAR--THE MATE'S STORY--CATCHING A
SHARK--AN ALBATROSS HOOKED--CAPE TOWN--ALGOA BAY--OX-WAGGON--
SOUTH-AFRICAN TRAVELLING--OBSTINACY CONQUERED--EXPEDITIOUS JOURNEYING--
FRONTIER OF THE COLONY.

To an indifferent sailor, a long voyage is not by any means a pleasant
thing; and I quite agree with the sage who said that a man on board a
ship was a prisoner, with the additional risk of being drowned.  One
feels a continual yearning for the green fields, fresh butter and milk;
and the continual noise, confusion, and other disagreeables, are more
trying to temper and patience than can be imagined by a quiet
stay-at-home gentleman.

We left England in the coldest weather that had been remembered for
years.  A month's daily skating on the Serpentine was a bad preparation
for a week's calm, under a burning sun, within a degree of the line,
twenty-seven days afterwards.  The frames of Englishmen, however, appear
to be better adapted for the changes of climate than are those of the
inhabitants of any other country.

We passed the Bay of Biscay with the usual rough weather, had a distant
look at Madeira, and entered the trade-winds, without having met with
any other disaster than a sort of mutiny amongst the crew, who, headed
by a contumacious coloured giant, refused to attend divine service on a
Sunday.  A detachment of half a dozen men, with the captain and the mate
at their head, soon brought the gentleman in question to reason;
forty-eight hours in irons, on bread and water, entirely changed his
view of the matter, and he came out from the encounter a very lamb.

I frequently remained on deck in the first watches of the night, during
the pleasant sailing in the trade-winds, between the Canary Islands and
the west coast of Africa, a part of the world that has always been
remembered by me for its beautiful climate.  The light breeze caused
little more than a ripple on the water, which sparkled with millions of
phosphorescent lights, and the slow, easy motion of the vessel, with the
occasional groaning of the blocks and bulk-heads, as a stronger puff of
wind than usual caused an additional strain upon them, was like the
heave and swell of some leviathan lungs, while the graceful curve of the
studding-sails, spreading far out on each side, gave to the ship the
appearance of some vast animal, intent on a journey of mystery and
importance, and busy in thus muttering to itself a rehearsal of its
mission.

I preferred resting in the stern-boat, and watching the space around, to
breathing the close atmosphere of the badly-ventilated cabins, with
their odours of bilge-water and mouldy biscuit, or tossing about
restlessly in the narrow berth, to the disturbance and sometimes death
of vagrant cockroaches, who had trespassed under the blanket, and whose
number was legion.

In the surrounding water, one could trace the meteor course of some
monster of the deep, whose dive left behind a long brilliant stream of
fire like a rocket.  Suddenly the ocean would apparently become alive
with these flashes of light, as a shoal of porpoises dashed into sight
with the velocity of a troop of wild horse, leaping and shying in their
merry race.  They cross the brilliant wake of the ship, and, with a
regular wheel, like a squadron of cavalry, charge after her.  The ten
knots per hour that the log has given as the gallant ship's speed, make
but little difference to these aquatic rovers.  They open their line as
they near, and now they are under the stern; in a second they have
passed, in a few more are far on ahead, jumping about near the bows, and
taking each valley of the rolling sea in true sporting style.  Then,
with another sweep, they dash down upon us, and, after inspecting the
ship for a minute, disappear with the same reckless speed, leaving two
or three outsiders, who, not getting a fair start, appear to ply whip
and spur to regain their position with the main body.  The sea is then
doubly dark and mysterious.

The morning light would show the ocean covered with the beautiful little
Portuguese men-of-war (_Physalus_), whose brilliant reflection of the
prismatic colours would raise a feeling of ambition for their capture.
An hour was passed in the endeavour to become more closely acquainted
with them, by means of a little net over the ship's side--the result,
like many others in this world, was disappointment.  A man-of-war is
caught, but, upon its reaching the deck, is found to consist of a small
bladder, now destitute of those attractions that had tempted our eyes,
and a few long muscular strings, that raise a red smarting line wherever
they touch the skin.  This curious creature declines exhibiting its
beauties during captivity.

I had many theoretical lessons in seamanship from the mate during this
fine weather, and many interesting anecdotes of whaling adventures.  He
was very anxious to pass safely round the Cape, and, upon my inquiring
the reason, he gave me the following account of his last trip, which had
taken place some four years before:--

"It was on a miserably cold day in February that the good barque
_Emerald_, in which I was second mate, weighed her anchor from the mud
opposite Gravesend, and commenced her voyage for the Mauritius.  I had
sailed with the captain (Wharton) to the West Indies on a former voyage,
and had been asked by him to take the second mate's place on this trip,
although I was only twenty-one years old at the time.  I thought it a
good berth, and accepted it, although I disliked the man.  He was a good
sailor, there was no denying, but a bit of a bully, and, I always
suspected, drank a good deal when quiet in his cabin.  He had been
married just before our voyage, and his honeymoon was rather curtailed
by the hurry of our departure.  I saw his wife several times before we
left England, for she was staying at Gravesend, and had also come on
board while we were lying in the docks.  She was a very pretty young
girl, and seemed to be too quiet and good for the skipper, who, I
thought, did not treat her as he ought to have done.  She told me that
she was going to take a cottage at Gosport while her husband was away,
and asked me, if I had time, to write her a few words to say how the
ship got on, in case we met any of the homeward-bound; or stopped at any
port.  I believe, when she shook hands with me, and said, `good-bye,
sir; a happy voyage to you,' I felt much inclined to do her any service,
and pitied her lonely situation more than her husband did.  She had told
me that her only relation was an aged aunt.  Well, we floundered across
the Bay of Biscay, and ran down the trades, and in twenty-seven days
from leaving England with a freezing north wind, we were baking under
the line with 95 degrees in the shade shown on our thermometer.  The
skipper had shoved a couple of our men in irons for very slight offences
during our run, and seemed to be a greater brute than ever.  He was one
of those fellows who acted like an angel on shore, so pleasant and kind,
but when he got afloat in blue water, he wasn't an angel exactly, at
least not the right sort of angel.

"We jogged on, however, till we passed round the Cape; we gave it a wide
berth, and kept well off the bank, to avoid the current that runs from
the east all down that coast for seventy miles' distance.  We were about
off Cape L'Agulhas, when the north-west wind that we had carried with us
from near South America, turned round and blew right in our teeth; we
had plenty of wind in our jib then, it blew great guns, and we were
under close-reefed topsails for a week.  One night I was on watch, and
finding that it was blowing harder than ever, and the ship was making
very bad weather of it, I thought I would go down and ask the skipper's
leave to lay-to.  I dived down the hatchway and knocked twice at the
captain's cabin-door before I received an answer; at last I heard his
`come in.'  I opened the door and was about to report the gale
increased, but was stopped by the appearance of the captain.  He was as
white as a sheet, and his eyes were staring like a maniac's.  Before I
could speak a word, he said, `Have you seen her?'  I did not know what
he meant, but said, `Beg pardon, sir, the ship is making very bad
weather of it.'  He cursed the weather, and repeated, `did you see my
wife as you came in?'  I said, `see your wife!  No!'

"He stared at me for an instant and then dropped on his couch, and said,
`God have mercy on me.'  It was the first time I had ever heard him use
that sacred name, although the evil one's was pretty often in his mouth.
I then asked him about the ship, when he told me to go and do what I
thought best.  I went up and took all the canvas off, with the exception
of the mizen-trysail.  I got the peak lowered down to the deck and
showed but a pocket-handkerchief sort of sail; this kept her head to
wind.  I had a guy made fast to the boom, which kept it firm, and lashed
the helm; we then rode like a duck on the water.

"I turned in as usual after being relieved, and said nothing to any one
about what I had heard.  In the morning the captain sent for me, told me
not to speak about what he had said last night, but that he had been
told that his days were numbered.  He pointed to the log-book, in which
he had put down, that he had seen his wife come into the cabin, and that
she spoke to him, and told him something about himself.  He then
requested me to sign his statement in the book, and ordered me not to
say a word to any of the men as long as he lived.  I told him not to
think anything about it, as such things were only imaginations, and were
caused by the stomach being a little out of order.  I did not think it
at the time, although I thought it would quiet him by telling him so.

"We lay-to all that day; the captain came on deck once, but spoke to no
one.  In the afternoon I went down to him to ask about getting a little
sail up again; I found him reading his Bible, a thing that I had never
heard of his doing before.  He put it down and came on deck; ordered me
to get up the fore-topsail; I went forward to see about it, and the
skipper walked on to the poop; the helm was still lashed, and no one was
there but him.  I was giving the men orders to go aloft, when I heard a
crack astern, and felt a jar through the whole ship.  I turned round and
found the pitching had caused the heavy boom of the trysail to break the
guy that fastened it, and it was swinging from side to side with every
lurch of the ship.  I ran aft with all the men, and with great
difficulty made it fast again; it took us some time to settle, and I
then went down to tell the captain.  His cabin was just as I had left it
before, and no one in it; I came out and asked for him on deck, but no
one had seen him there.  The men said that he was on the poop when the
guy gave way; there was a general call throughout the ship, but the
captain was not found.

"The first mate and I then went on the poop, and looked well all round.
On the bulwarks near the stern there was a slight dent, and close beside
it a streak of blood: there was no doubt that the boom in its first
swing had knocked the skipper clean overboard, and the chances were, had
smashed some of his limbs too.  We never saw him more.  The first mate
took the command, and I told him about the captain's vision; he laughed
at me, and told me I was a fool to believe in such rubbish, and
recommended me not to talk about it.  I quietly tore the leaf out of the
log-book, and have got it now.  I will show it you."  Saying this he
went down to his cabin and brought me up the sheet of paper; which I
read, and found it as he had described.  "We went on to the Mauritius,
loaded, and returned to England.  I had no opportunity of fulfilling my
promise of writing to the captain's wife, so immediately I could leave
the ship I started for Gosport to tell her about his loss.

"I found her house from the address she had given me, and walked once or
twice up and down to consider all I should say to her.  It was any way a
difficult thing and one I did not like doing, having to relate the death
of her husband; and besides, women are inclined to think there is always
some neglect in others if an accident happens to those they love.  At
last I plucked up courage and knocked at the door.  A decent-looking
servant came, and upon my asking if Mrs Wharton were at home, she
replied, `Mrs Wharton don't live here.  Mrs Somebody or other lives
here, and she ain't at home.'  I asked if she could tell me where, to
find Mrs Wharton, and was informed by the maid that she was a stranger
and knew nothing; but the baker over the way, she thought, could tell
me.  I went over and asked the baker's wife, and she informed me that
Mrs Wharton had been dead nearly five months, and her aunt had moved
away.  I was thunderstruck at this intelligence, and immediately
inquired the date of her death; she looked over a daybook in the drawer,
and told me.  I put it down in my memorandum-book, and when I got back
to the ship I found the date the same as that noted on the leaf of the
log-book as the one that the captain had seen her off the Cape.  Now, I
never was superstitious before this, nor am I alarmed now at the idea of
seeing ghosts, but still there is a queer sort of feeling comes over me
when I think of that night.

"When I got home to my friends, I told the clergyman and the doctor what
had been seen.  The first explained it to me as an optical delusion, but
acknowledged that it was very curious; the other looked into my eyes as
though he were trying to see some signs of insanity, and told me it was
very likely that the captain's supper had disagreed with him that night,
or that he was half-seas-over.

"Now, I haven't much learning myself, but I do despise what I have seen
called science; men who study books only, can't know so much as those
who see the real things; I haven't patience with men who, never having
travelled much, or been across the oceans, quietly tell the world that
what a hundred sane men's experienced eyes have seen and known as a
sea-serpent is discovered by their scientific reasoning to be a bundle
of seaweed, or a shoal of porpoises, because they saw once at Brighton
one or the other, when even a land-lubber could hardly have been
mistaken.  My wise doctor tried to prove that what the skipper had seen
with his own eyes was nothing but the result of a supper he hadn't
eaten, or the fumes of some grog that weren't swallowed; because it
happened not to be accounted for in his fusty old books in any other
way--I would sooner be without science, if this is the result.

"Bless you, sir, I never yet saw one of your great learned sailors worth
much in an extremity.  Give me a fellow who acts from his practical
experience.  A man much given to be particular about `how the log-book
is kept,' about dotting i's and crossing t's, is generally struck of a
heap, if the ship happens to be taken aback, or a squall carries away
her gear.  While he is going over his logarithms to know what should be
done, the commonest seaman on board could set all to rights.  Mind I
don't run down any book-learning you may have, but I only say it ain't
equal to experience, and it never will convince me that, if I see a
square-rigged ship a mile off, I am only mistaken, and that a man in
London knows by science that it was a fore-and-aft schooner and close to
me; or if I see a school of whales, he knows they are only flying fish,
because science tells him the whale does not frequent the part where I
saw them; and that my supper caused me to mistake one for the other."
With these sentiments the mate ended his tale, and I now proceed with
the narrative of the voyage.

While near the line, we caught a shark, which was the first animal
bigger than a hare that I had ever assisted in destroying.  As the
method employed on this fellow was of a more sporting character than
usually attends the capture of this monster, I will give in detail our
proceedings.

Our voracious friend having been seen some hundred yards astern steadily
following in our wake, we procured two joints of a lightning-conductor
(that had lain in the hold since our leaving England, and which was
intended to protect the ship from the fluid that makes so excellent a
messenger but so direful an enemy), and lashed a large hook on to one
end.  The copper wire was stout enough to resist the teeth of the
monster, and a common log-line was made fast to the wire, with a second
line in case of his requiring much play.  Over the stern went the hook,
baited with a most tempting piece of pork; the ship was just moving
through the water at the time, the whole sea looking like a vast lake of
molten silver.

We watched our cannibal as the bait came near him, he did not keep us
long in doubt, but with a rush put his nose against the pork, pronounced
it good, turned on his side, and both pork and hook disappeared.  We
gave a smart tug at the line, and found him fast.

I expected a tremendous trout-like rush, or some great display of shark
force; but he merely gave a wag of his tail, lowered his dorsal fin
under water, and steadily dragged back on the line.  We met him with a
firm pull, and brought him near the ship, when he made a sudden dive
directly downward, nearly carrying out both our lines.

I feared now that we should lose him, but he seemed to have gone deep
enough to suit his taste, and turned slowly up again; all his movements
could be seen as distinctly in this transparent water as those of a bird
in the air.  One or two more dives of a similar character at length
tired him, and he was brought close to the vessel.  One of the seamen
then sent a harpoon with deadly aim right through him, which caused a
furious struggle, by which the hook was snapped short off from the wire.
The harpoon, however, held firm, and its rope served to guide a
bowling-knot, which caught under the shark's fins, and he was dragged on
to the deck.  A storm of blows and a chop on his tail soon reduced his
strength, which had shown itself in struggles and leaps; his demise was
then peaceful.  He was fully seven feet long, and seemed a string of
muscles.  He disappointed me by his craven surrender; a salmon would
have given far more play.

Great interest was shown in inspecting the shark's interior; a button
marked VR or RN might have caused endless speculation, and wonderful
tales to be invented.  Alas! his stomach contained nothing but a bundle
of feathers!  A roar from the whole crew was given at this discovery.

What could he have been about?--acting a fishy pantomime as a pillow, or
turning himself into a comfortable resting-place for Mrs Shark's head?
The fact was, that there had been a great deal of poultry plucked within
the last few days, and the feathers were thrown overboard.  Sharky being
unable to grab either the fowls or their masters, had been obliged to
satisfy the cravings of his hungry maw with this unsatisfactory
substitute.  I cut a slice out of him; it was like a skein of wire, so
tough and unfishlike.

Some preserved salmon that we had for dinner on the following day was
pronounced by a youngster "very good indeed, and better than he could
have fancied a shark would taste:" and he very likely believes to this
day that boiled shark is very like salmon, as we were all careful not to
inform him of his error.

As we neared the Cape, we were occasionally inspected by some gigantic
albatrosses, whose spectral appearance, as they sailed rapidly along
with outstretched and rigid wings, and passed from side to side of the
horizon in sweeping circles, seemed like the ghosts of ancient mariners
thus condemned monotonously to pass their time till the day of judgment.

When near the island of Tristan D'Acunha we caught one with a little
hook and a line; we brought him on deck, and, after inspecting his
personal appearance and ten-feet-wide wings from tip to tip, threw him
overboard, when he was furiously attacked by his cousins, who,
Chinaman-like, seemed to think death the only fit reward for his having
dealt with the white travellers.

We entered Table Bay in the night, just in time to escape a strong
south-easter that sprung up at daybreak, enveloped the Table Mountain
with its dense white cloth of clouds, and sent volumes of dust from the
flats pouring into the town, to the blinding of every unfortunate
out-of-door individual.  On disembarking in any foreign land, one is
naturally amused with the curious costumes of the people; and when the
country happens to be that of a coloured race, this peculiarity is still
more striking.  The people here were of every colour and denomination,--
English, Dutch, Portuguese, Chinamen, Malays, Negroes, Kaffirs,
Hottentots, Fingoes, and Mohammedans, white and black, red and yellow,
with every intermediate shade.

The head-dresses showed in the greatest variety.  Some heads had nothing
on them, not even hair; others had a small rag.  Hottentot and Malay
women's heads were extensively got up with red and blue handkerchiefs;
some wore English straw hats or coverings shaped like rotundas; others
had plumes of ostrich-feathers, wide-awakes, etc.  Most of the women and
boys danced round us when we first landed, and I felt like Sindbad the
sailor being welcomed by the beasts on the magician's island.

I rather liked Cape Town; there was a good library, very fair balls,
pretty women, and a pleasant country near, well sprinkled with good
houses, the hospitality of which might well be introduced in place of
the oyster-like seclusion of many homes in England.

Three months after landing in Table Bay I again embarked for Algoa Bay,
_en route_ for the frontier.  We had a pleasant calm voyage, keeping the
coast in sight during the whole passage, and putting into two or three
bays, where a delay of a few hours enabled me to haul on board a good
dish of grotesque-looking fish, and some crayfish: the latter were
excellent eating.

On the sixth day we landed at Port Elizabeth, Algoa Bay, whence I
started without delay; sand, swindling horse-dealers, naked Fingoes, and
drunken Hottentots being my principal sights at this town.  I managed to
obtain a mount from a friend who had voyaged from Cape Town with me, and
thus reserved my selection of a quadruped until I arrived at Graham's
Town.  We examined the surrounding country for game, but saw only a
hare, a few quail, and one buck.  I was told that ostriches were within
a few miles, and that elephants had been seen near the Sundays river a
day or so past.

The ox-waggon of the Cape is a four-wheeled vehicle with a canvas tilt;
it is completely a necessary of the South-African resident: it is his
house, his ship, and in many cases his income.  Until he builds a house,
he lives in the waggon, keeps all he possesses there, and travels from
spot to spot independent of inns or other habitations.  From the general
suppleness of the vehicle, owing to the very small quantity of iron
which is used in its construction, it is well adapted for the purposes
of crossing the steep-banked rivers and stony roads that are here so
frequent.

Fourteen oxen are generally used for a team, each having his regular
place, and answering to his wonderful name.  A miserable Hottentot boy
or Fingo is employed to perform the part of leader: he is called
"forelouper;" his duty being to hold a small rope that is fastened to
the horns of the two front oxen, and to lead them in the right road.

The inspanning or coupling completed, the rope by which, the team pulls
the waggon is then stretched, and the driver, whirling his gigantic whip
round his victims, and with a shrill yell that a demon might utter,
shouts, "Trek!  Trek!  Achterman!  Roeberg!"  (the names of two oxen)
"Trek ye!"

The long whip is then brought down with a neat flip on the flank of some
refractory animal who is hanging back, and out of whose hide a strip of
several inches in length is thus taken.

A shout at Englishman--generally so named from being the most obstinate
in the team--Zwartland, Wit Kop, etcetera, is followed by a steady pull
all together, and the waggon moves off.  When the driver has flogged a
few more of the oxen to let off his superfluous anger, he mounts on the
waggon-box, and exchanges his long whip for a short strip of
sea-cow-hide, called the "achter sjambok," with which he touches up
occasionally the two wheelers.  Lighting his pipe, he then complacently
views the performance of his stud through its balmy atmosphere.  Should
there be an ox so obstinate as to refuse to move on, or wish to lie
down, etc., who can paint the refined pleasure this same Hottentot
driver feels in thrashing the obstinacy out of the animal, or how entire
is his satisfaction as he kicks the poor brute in the stomach, and raps
him over the nose with the yokes-key, or twists his tail in a knot, and
then tears it with his teeth.  Martin's Act is a dead letter in Africa.

A few days in Graham's Town were quite enough to satisfy my curiosity;
in this part of the world, the sooner one gets beyond the
half-civilisation the better.

I joined two friends, and started for Fort Beaufort, a day's ride
distant.  I was much amused at the cool manner in which our dinner was
provided at the inn on the road.  "What will you have, gentlemen?" was
asked: "beef, a turkey, or--" "Turkey roast I vote," said one, in answer
to the landlord's question.  "Piet!" cried the landlord, "knock over
that turkey in the corner."

"Ja bas," answered a Hottentot servant.  A log of wood flew at the
turkey's head indicated, and, with unerring aim, he was knocked over,
plucked, drawn, and roasted in about an hour and a half, and was very
good and tender.

The frontier of the Cape colony is a very wild and rather barren
district, and in many parts there is a scarcity of water and verdure.
At certain seasons of the year quail come in abundance, thirty or forty
brace for one pair of barrels being by no means an uncommon bag.  One or
two of the bustard tribe are also found here, and are called the
_diccop_, _coran_, and _pouw_.  I saw but little game besides those
creatures which I have just mentioned, as we were at war with the
Amakosa tribes, and it was not prudent to venture far from our forts.  I
employed my time in making portraits of the friendly Kaffirs who came in
to see us, and also in acquiring their language, which struck me as
particularly harmonious and expressive.  Frequently thirty or forty men
would come in of a day under some pretence or other, and I had good
opportunities of watching their manners and attire, the latter, by the
bye, being particularly simple.



CHAPTER TWO.

DUTCH AND KAFFIR WORDS--FRONTIER KAFFIRS--KAFFIR WOMEN--KAFFIR SOLDIERS
CATTLE-STEALING--BUSH-FIGHTING--COLONEL NAPIER'S OPINION--EQUIPMENT OF
ENGLISH SOLDIERS--A BRITISH SOLDIER IN THE BUSH--KAFFIR MANOEUVRES--
CORN-PITS--TREATMENT OF KAFFIR THIEVES--THE ASSAGY AND OTHER WEAPONS--
MORAL QUALITIES OF THE KAFFIRS--NATIVE MARKSMEN--POWER OF THE CHIEFS--
RELIGIOUS OPINIONS--HOTTENTOT SOLDIERS.

The different terms that I shall employ, viz., Kraal, Spoor, Kaffir, and
Assagy, are not known to the Kaffirs themselves, except through their
commerce with the white men; but as the words are in general vogue
through the colony, I am forced to use them.

Kraal is a Dutch term, and means an inclosure for animals.  I fancy that
they call the Kaffirs' residences by this name to indicate their
contempt for the people; the Kaffirs call their villages "_umsi_."

Spoor is also Dutch: the Kaffirs speak of spoor as _umkondo_.  The
footmarks of a particular animal are then named as _Amasondo injlovu_,
footmarks of elephants; _umkondo_ being the singular,--one footmark.

"Kaffir" is also a term unknown to the men so called; they speak of
themselves by the designation of the tribe.  _Kosa_ is a frontier
Kaffir, _ama_, the plural, being prefixed, makes _Amakosa_ Kaffirs;
thus, _Amazulu, Amaponda_, etc.  A Hottentot is called _Umlao_.

An assagy is called _umkonto_; the plural is here irregular, _izakali_
being assagies.  A kaross is called by Kaffirs _ingubu_.

The frontier Kaffirs are fine athletic men, and stand generally about
six feet in height: they are nearly black, and have woolly hair,
although the features are in many cases almost European.  The
_intombi's_, or young girls, are often quite pretty, with wild, free,
dark eyes, that may well plead as excuses for the young Kaffirs'
propensity for cattle-stealing, the decimal coinage of Kaffirland being
10 cows = 1 wife.

One very soon gets over the prejudice of colour, and after having looked
for some time on the rich black of a Kaffir belle, a white lady appears
bloodless, consumptive, and sickly in comparison.  The hard work that an
_umfazi_, or wife, has to perform very soon spoils her girlish figure
and appearance, and she then becomes a haggard, wrinkled, repulsive old
witch.  The coolness of all these women is often surprising.  A skirmish
with the Kaffirs and our troops might take place on one day, and on the
next the women belonging to the Kaffir men engaged would come into the
camp and offer wood or milk for sale, calling to us to "_tenga_" (buy).
I suspect that these women are often sent in merely as spies.

There is a great mistake prevalent in the minds of most English people,
and that is, their habit of underrating the Kaffir as a foe.  He is
looked upon as a naked savage, armed only with a spear, and hardly worth
powder and shot.  But in reality the Kaffirs are a formidable race, and,
from their skill in many arts in which we are deficient, are much to be
dreaded.  Nearly every frontier Kaffir is now provided with a gun,
thanks to the English traders, and very many have horses.  The Kaffirs,
being also particularly active and always in excellent training, make
splendid light infantry.  I believe it was Napoleon who remarked that
legs won as many battles as arms: should this be true, the Kaffirs
certainly have a great advantage over us, as they can go three miles at
least to our two.

Although indifferent marksmen, they are not inferior to the average of
our private soldiers, and they are fast improving.  Their training from
childhood consists in a course of assagy-throwing and a cunning way of
approaching and surprising an enemy.  As they are in such cases
destitute of clothes, they move through the thorny bush with great ease,
and are in such light marching order that their impediments are nothing
in comparison with those of our soldiers, heavily burdened and tightly
strapped.  A Kaffir is also seasoned by hardship from childhood, and
keeps fat and sleek on the roots and berries which he picks up,
occasionally eked out with scraps of meat; while Englishmen rapidly lose
their form and flesh by living on the tough old ox that is killed and
immediately served out to them as rations.

The individual courage of the frontier Kaffirs is undeniable, and they
have given many proofs of it.  One case I may mention, which will show
the great risk which they will run for their favourite stake, cattle.
It was related to me by an eye-witness.

During the time that there was encamped on the Debe flats a force
consisting of upwards of two hundred men, the cattle were inclosed
nightly in a kraal, formed of bushes and trees cut down, and inclosing a
space of some forty yards in diameter.  Sentries were placed round this
inclosure, in spite of whom, for two nights, the bushes had been removed
and two or three oxen taken away.  There had been a slight disturbance
amongst the cattle each night, but upon inspection everything seemed
right.  To prevent a third robbery, a number of Hottentots were placed
round the kraal and ordered to lie down under the bushes, and to keep
quiet.  They remained nearly half the night without seeing anything,
when one wily fellow noticed a small black object on the ground at a
short distance from him, which he thought he had not observed before.
Keeping his eyes fixed upon it, he saw a movement when a sentry walked
away from it, and a stillness as he approached.  The Hottentot remained
perfectly quiet until the black object was a few yards from him, when he
called out in Kaffir that he was going to shoot.  The black object
jumped on its feet, whirling an assagy, but only in time to receive a
heavy charge of buckshot in the breast, followed up by a bullet, which
terminated the career of a Kaffir well-known for his daring and
cattle-stealing propensities.

That the frontier Kaffir is, in nearly every case, a rogue, a thief, and
a liar, no one will, I believe, deny; there is a great deal, however, to
be said in excuse for him.  He is a savage, uneducated, and misled by
the bad example of his forefathers, and he is gradually encroached upon
by the white men, who, after a war, most unceremoniously appropriate a
certain number of square miles of territory, and tell the original owner
that he must either move on, or that he is only a squatter on
sufferance.

The Kaffir has had one or two severe lessons, showing him that he is no
match for the white man in fair open fights, and so, gathering
experience from these lessons, he now rarely runs an open risk, but
confines himself to attacks where he has every advantage of numbers and
position.  His great stronghold is the bush, and without doubt he is
there a most dangerous animal.  Active, unencumbered with clothing, and
his colour well suited for concealment, he glides about like a snake;
the knowledge he has gained in surprising the quick-sighted and
sharp-eared animals of his country, he now applies to the destruction of
his enemies.  Hiding himself amongst the roots and underwood, he waits
patiently his opportunity, his gun in readiness and his assagies handy.
It is not at all remarkable that the raw soldier, whose early training
has been the plough or a shop, or some other occupation as little likely
to fit him for bush-craft, falls a victim to the hidden foe.  The
scarlet coat of the British soldier makes him a capital target, while
his belts and other trappings retard his movements most effectually.

Lieutenant-Colonel E. Napier, in his work entitled "Excursions in
Southern Africa," has described the effect of the trappings of the
English soldier in so able a manner, that I am afraid to attempt any
further description, but must e'en pirate this author's words, and beg
his pardon for the theft:--

"The `Rode Bashees' of the party, as the Kaffirs denominate our gallant
red-jackets, to distinguish them from the `Amabula' (Boers) and the
`Umlaou,' or Hottentots, of the force, had previously, as much as
possible, divested themselves of those old-fashioned `pipeclay'
trammels, only calculated, when on service, to impede the movements and
check the brilliant valour of the British troops.  Tight tape-laced
coatees (scarlet in leprosy) were cast aside, and shell-jackets, well
patched with leather, generally speaking, had become the order of the
day.  Blue dungaree trowsers were substituted for white prolongations.
The heavy knapsack had been left at head-quarters, and was replaced by a
small canvas bag loosely slung across the right shoulder.  Few stiff,
leather dog-collars,--most appropriately called `stocks,'--now answered
the roll; and the crown of that very essence of discomfort and
uselessness yclept the `chako' being kicked out, had made way for the
rather more sensible head-dress of the `forage-cap;' whilst, horrible to
relate! many a sunburnt, weather-beaten English phiz,--long a stranger
to razor or soap-suds, and spite of `whisker' regulations,--wildly
peeped through a bushy jungle of untrimmed beard and luxuriant
moustache, which, though rather, it must be admitted, brigand-like
appendages, were undoubtedly found more comfortable by the respective
wearers than an equal proportion of sores or blisters, with which the
`pale faces were sure to be covered if deprived in this fiery clime of
that protection so kindly afforded by Nature'.

"The above is, generally speaking, a correct representation of the
British soldier when on actual service; and only shows how completely
unfitted are his everyday dress and appointments (though perhaps well
enough adapted to the household troops) for the roughing of a campaign;
particularly such campaigns as he is most likely to be engaged in,
against uncivilised barbarians, under a burning sun, and amidst the
abrading effects of dense and thorny jungles.

"No; if the pipeclay martinets, the gold and tape-lacing tailors of the
army, cannot bring themselves to study utility and comfort a little
more, in the everyday dress of the _working_ part of the army, let them,
at least, when our brave fellows are called upon for such roughing as
that required in the last Kaffir campaign,--let them, I say, safely
deposit all these gingerbread trappings in store; rig out our soldiers
in a fashion that will afford _some_ protection against climate; not
impede the free use of their limbs; and give them a chance of marching
under a broiling sun, without a _coup de soleil_; or of coming out of a
thorny jungle, with some small remnants of clothing on their backs.

"What, with his ordinary dress and accoutrements, was often the result,
to the British soldier, of a Kaffir skirmish in the bush?  Seeing his
Hottentot _compagnons d'armes_ dash into the dense thorny covert, and
not wishing to be outdone by these little `black fellows,' he sets its
abrading properties at defiance, and boldly rushes in on their wake.
His progress is, however, soon arrested; an opposing branch knocks off
the tall conical machine curiously balanced, like a milkmaid's pail, on
the top of his head.  He stoops down to recover his lost treasure; in so
doing his `pouch-box' goes over his head, his `cross-belts' become
entangled.  Hearing a brisk firing all around, and wishing to have a
part in the fun, he makes an effort to get on to the front, but finds
himself most unaccountably held in the obstinate grasp of an unexpected
native foe.  The thick-spreading and verdant bush, under which the
`chako' has rolled, is the `_wacht-een-beetje_' and, to his cost, he
feels in his woollen garments the tenacious hold of its hooked claws;
for the more he struggles to get free, the more he becomes entangled in
the thorny web.  He now hears `retire' echoing through the adjoining
rocks; and his friends, the `totties,' as they briskly run past, warn
him, in their retreat, that the enemy--who knows right well our
bugle-calls--is at their heels.  Exhausted by his protracted struggle,
whilst maddened at the thought of falling into the power of his cruel
foe, the poor fellow makes a desperate effort at escape.  In so doing,
the ill-omened `chako' is left to its fate; the _wacht-een-beetje_
retains in triumph part of his dress.  As he `breaks covert,' the
Kaffirs, with insulting yells, blaze away at him from the Bush; and,
scudding across the plain, towards his party, with the ill-adjusted
pouch banging against his hinder parts, the poor devil,--in addition to
the balls whistling around him,--is also exposed, as he approaches, to
the jeers and laughter of his more fortunate comrades!

"Far be it to attempt here to detract from the efficiency and merits of
our gallant troops, whose services--spite of every obstacle raised in
their way--have been so conspicuous in every part of the globe; I merely
wish to point out how very much that efficiency might be increased, by a
little attention to the dictates of reason and common sense."

Lieutenant-Colonel Napier evidently does not consider a man who carries
weight ought to be matched against one unhampered by such a retarding
influence, and he appears also to believe a man would be able both to
fight and to march better, if he were not half-choked, or half-crushed,
by his accoutrements.  In olden times, the armour of a knight, whilst it
so fettered him as to almost prevent him from injuring his enemy, still
protected his own person.  The trappings of the British soldier of the
present day merely perform the former half of this service.

The Kaffir is accustomed to act on his own responsibility, is full of
self-confidence, and is a kind of independent machine in himself; the
common English soldier is trained _not_ to think for himself, but to do
what he is ordered,--no more, no less.  When, therefore, he finds
himself separated from his companions, which frequently happens in
bush-fighting, surrounded by a dense thicket, a brier under his arm, a
mimosa-thorn sticking in his leg, and half a dozen wait-a-bits holding
his raiment fast, there is but little blame due to him if he is assagied
by his unseen dark-hided foe, who has been long watching for this
opportunity.

When provisions or stores are sent from one part to another, the
ox-waggon of the country is made use of.  A convoy of twenty waggons,
and sometimes more, are sent together, an escort of fifty or one hundred
men accompanying it.  These waggons, each with its team of oxen, cover a
great distance, and the road being frequently lined with bush,
impenetrable except to a Kaffir, several opportunities of course occur
for advantageous ambuscades, where overwhelming numbers can be at once
concentrated on any particular spot.  To be completely guarded against
these Kaffir surprises is next to impossible, the whole thing being done
in a few minutes; and, perhaps, during that short time, two or three
spans of oxen are whisked off, which one might as well attempt to follow
as to chase clouds.

If Kaffirs are attacked in the bush, and they find that they are likely
to get the worst of the fight, they do not hesitate a moment about
retreating.  There is no false delicacy with them, and they are away as
fast as their legs can carry them to a more secure and distant locality,
only to return again on the first convenient opportunity.

Attacking and destroying their villages inflicts no great loss upon
them, for their houses are rebuilt in a few days.  The only time when
they are likely to suffer is near their harvest season, for their crops
then would be destroyed.  If they once gather the corn, they soon have
it well concealed in holes made for this purpose, which are circular and
deep.

I was nearly terminating my career in a corn-pit at Natal, and was
therefore well acquainted with its construction.  As I was riding round
amongst some old deserted kraals looking for bush-pigs, my horse
suddenly stumbled; he partly recovered, and then came down on his head;
I thought he had the staggers, and tried to jump off.  I felt him
sinking behind me, and as he was struggling, I had great difficulty in
getting clear.  I had just got my foot out of the stirrup and was
throwing my leg over him, when he fell down several feet, with me on the
top of him.  The whole of this took place in a few seconds.  The dirt,
dust, and an avalanche of broken sticks, came tumbling down, and blinded
me for a moment.  Upon looking about me, I found that we had sunk into
an old corn-pit, about twelve feet in depth and seven in diameter.  The
sides were as hard as stone, for a fire is always kept burning for a day
or so in the interior when the pit is first made.

Fortunately, during the fall I was uppermost, otherwise our mingled
bones might have been the only intimation that my friends would have had
of this misfortune, as the hole was in a very out-of-the way locality.

My pony struggled at first, but, being a very cool hand, soon became
quiet.  His hind-legs were bent under him like those of a dog when he
squats down, his head resting against the side of the pit.  I could not
reach the top to get out, so I set to work with my knife and cut some
holes in the side of the pit, and worked my way out as a New Zealander
gets up a tree.  I then ran to the hut of a squatter about a mile
distant, and obtained the aid of half a dozen Kaffirs with spades and
picks.  We set to work and dug a sort of ramp, which allowed my horse to
walk out.  He was very much cramped and rather stiff; but after walking
about a little, seemed to be all right, and no ill effects followed from
the fall, with the exception of a quantity of hair rubbed away, and the
fracture of the saddle-tree.  Some Kaffirs had covered this pit over
with sticks and turf in hopes of earthing some game.  It was fortunate
there was no sharp stake driven at the bottom of this pit, as is
frequently the case; one, if not both of us, might then have been
impaled.

It is a difficult thing to surprise Kaffirs, for their spies are always
on the alert, and the movements of the main body are made with great
rapidity.  If a large force invades their country, the Kaffirs will
retreat with their cattle to the most inaccessible places; if attacked
there, the men fight as long as is prudent, and then beat a retreat,
leaving some of their cattle and driving away others.  Thus they harass
the attacking parties of their enemies during their return, lining every
drift (crossing of river) and every bit of cover, firing away like fury,
and ready for a rush should an opportunity occur.

After this the Kaffirs break into small bands and invade the colony,
burning, murdering, and cattle-lifting.  They are sometimes gainers by
this system of reprisals, at least until a large force is raised, or
extra troops arrive from England.  The Kaffirs then eat a little
humble-pie, pay a fine in cattle, which they most probably steal again
soon, and peace is once more restored.  No great punishment is inflicted
on these rascals, they being difficult to catch.  And when they are
caught, and such a lesson could be given them as would act as a caution
for years, the English authorities have great fear that any severe
punishment which they might inflict would bring the whole of the good
but mistaken peace-loving folks of Exeter Hall in full cry on their
heels.  Moreover, although these philanthropists have a splendid field
in England upon which to exercise their feelings, such as prisoners in
Newgate who have committed crimes small by comparison with those of the
Kaffirs, still the far-off land of Africa must be chosen by them, and
the savage, whose great delight, from habit and taste, is to murder and
steal, must needs be protected, when he ought to be hung or shot without
mercy.  If some of these misled and misinformed people were aware how
much harm they really did to the savage, and the vast number of lives
that have been sacrificed by a want of firmness and of _apparent_
cruelty on the part of those intrusted with Kaffir government, they
would cease to do wrong out of piety, and would leave the entire
management of these matters in the hands of merciful men, who may be on
the spot, and whose experience would lead them to discover that a few
lives taken without hesitation at the commencement of disputes would
eventually prevent the loss of many hundreds.

The policy of showing mercy to the frontier Kaffir murderer is similar
to that of allowing a mad dog to run at liberty and bite people rather
than to commit the cruelty of knocking it on the head.  At the present
time, the prompt and decided conduct of the able governor of the Cape
appears to have checked a most threatening demonstration of the frontier
Kaffirs.  The Dutchmen, who are far up in the interior, keep their black
neighbours in better order.  When there is any just cause for going to
war, such a severe punishment is inflicted by them on the Kaffirs, that
a score of years will not wipe out the moral effect of the dread that
these Dutchmen have inspired.  I am convinced that by this apparent
severity lives are eventually saved.

Almost all the disasters that we have met with in Africa have been
caused by underrating the enemy, or fancying security where there was
danger.  Perpetual caution and watchfulness are the only safeguards.

Many people under English dominion have a desire for war, on account of
the advantages which they thereby derive, their waggons and oxen being
frequently let for months at a time to the commissariat, etc., and
standing idle, but well paid for.  The more troops there are in the
colony, the more money is brought to the inhabitants.

The unfortunate individuals who are settled on the outskirts of the
colony, or in situations liable to be attacked, are the great sufferers
during war time.  In each successive war the Kaffir tribes are found to
be better armed and more formidable.  Young Kaffirland likes excitement,
and having little to lose and everything to gain, trusts to his luck for
a _coup_.

The assagy is a formidable weapon in the hands of a Kaffir: it is a
light spear about five or six feet long; an iron blade, of nearly two
feet in length, is fixed in the wood while the iron is red-hot, and the
socket is then incased with the fresh sinews of some animal, which hold
all firmly together as they contract.  When preparing to throw the
assagy, the Kaffir holds it about an inch on the wood end of the
balance, the back of the hand down, the first finger and thumb grasping,
and all the other fingers resting on the wood.  He continues jerking the
assagy about, to give it the quivering motion that renders it difficult
to avoid; while he occasionally pretends to throw it, to put the man
aimed at off his guard.  All this time he continues jumping about,
rushing from side to side, but getting gradually nearer.

Having generally five assagies, he launches them, one after the other,
with great rapidity and certain aim, and with sufficient force to drive
the iron through a man when thrown from fifty to eighty yards' distance,
while some experts can throw them a hundred yards.  An assagy may be
dodged when it comes singly, and is seen, but a Kaffir prefers throwing
it when your back is turned, and generally sends a shower of them.
Fortunately the Kaffir nations consider that to poison spears is
despicable.  When an assagy is quivering in the hand of a Kaffir, it
appears to be alive: the quivering motion given to it just before
casting continues to affect it during its aerial course.

The _knob-kerries_ (sticks with large heavy knobs on the end) are also
very favourite weapons, and are thrown with great precision.  It is a
frequent practice for a dozen or more Kaffirs to go out after quail, and
to knock over great numbers of birds with their sticks.

The Kaffir men assume a vast amount of dignity, and look down upon the
Hottentots, Fingoes, etc., as a very inferior race to themselves.
Gratitude they scarcely seem to know, and charity is looked upon as a
weakness.

I saw a Kaffir come into the commissioner's residence one day to sell
some horses; he made out a most miserable story of his distress, stating
that his cattle had been taken by our soldiers, although he was a most
peaceably disposed man: he was in consequence very hungry, having really
little or nothing to eat.

Trading at this time was forbidden between the Kaffirs and the
colonists, and this man wanted to go into the colony to turn his horses
into cash.  The commissioner, thinking the Kaffir's account was untrue,
refused him this permission, although the applicant talked most
eloquently for two hours in support of his case, frequently complaining
of his hunger.  He was told, at length, by the commissioner, to eat his
horses if he were starving.  The Kaffir, giving with his tongue a loud
click (always expressive of disgust and indignation), sat silent for
nearly a minute, he then stood up to his full height, and wrapping his
blanket round him, told the commissioner, with a grand air, that he was
not a Hottentot: he here referred to the practice these men have of
eating the _quagga_, or zebra.

Finding all the talking of no avail, the Kaffir at length squeezed out a
few tears; they appeared so genuine that an officer who was present gave
him a shilling to get some meat.  The Kaffir quietly pocketed it, and,
looking round to one of his followers, said, in a low tone, "What does
this fool of an Englishman expect to get from me?"

The horses which the Kaffirs use are small, underbred, but hardy
animals.  A Kaffir soon ruins them, as he surely gives the horse a sore
back, and always rides at full gallop.  He considers a horse to be of no
use unless it is ridden fast, as he can go along on foot at six miles an
hour.

These Kaffirs think that it is vulgar to appear in a hurry to talk about
any subject, however important it may be to them.  A party coming in to
see the interpreter on business, rush up at full gallop, their blankets
flying out behind them, and their whips busily at work.  They pull up
close to the talking-house, jump off and fasten their horses to a bush,
or turn them out to graze, they themselves quietly sitting down to
smoke.  In about an hour the chief man gets up, stretches himself, as
though much fatigued and lazy, and quietly walks to the house of the
interpreter, giving him the usual salutation, and talking at first on
indifferent subjects.  When the Kaffir considers that there is a good
opening, he broaches the matter for which he came, but with an assumed
air of indifference and carelessness.  When it has been fully discussed,
he quietly walks out and sits talking the whole matter over with his
councillors; all the black party then mount, and dash off with the same
reckless speed.

The Kaffirs are most daring riders.  They will ride at full speed down
the steepest and most dangerous hills.  It is true that they frequently
get most fearful "_purls_" but their neck-joints appear to be more
firmly constructed than ours.

Some of the friendly Kaffirs who came in to see us were very good shots.
Kona, one of the chiefs, fired at a quart bottle stuck up at a hundred
yards, sending all his bullets within a few inches, and at last knocked
the neck off.  He sat down on the ground, and aimed by resting his left
hand on the ramrod, which he stuck in the ground for a support; this
sort of shooting would be quite good enough to annoy troops in a thick
bushy country.

I think that the next Kaffir war, which is now nearly due, will be a
very severe one, unless some individual out there thinks of "_burning
the bush_" that these black fellows hide in; a method that was suggested
by some wise head in England, who condemned the stupidity of the Capites
for not having done it before.  Surely there has been enough intellect
in South Africa to have thought of this long ago, had it been possible.
Unfortunately, the greater part of the trees are evergreen, and
therefore rather unfit for a blaze.  Let the wise proposer try his
success on his boxwood hedges, or his rhododendrons, and then imagine
patches of forty square miles of similarly constituted vegetation; he
will at once see that burning is not so very simple a process.

It is scarcely to be wondered at that in civilised countries, man should
bow to his fellow-man, and quietly submit to be his slave, as very many
are compelled thus to cringe for their daily bread.  But it does appear
extraordinary that amongst savages this same submission and obedience
should be practised, as the chief is frequently undistinguishable from
his commonest man, and the latter is independent of the former as
regards food, clothing, or any other of the world's goods.  Yet no
clansman in Scotland yields half the homage to the head of his clan that
the African savage does to his chief.  This feeling of obedience would
render almost useless any attempt to employ the Kaffirs as our soldiers,
a plan that appears now to have some supporters in England.  We might
give our orders to these black troops, but if a chief winked his eye, or
held up his finger, not a man would obey us until he had received his
chief's permission.

The Kaffir's ornaments are simple, but characteristic; such as strings
of beads interspersed with the teeth of wolves, lions, or hyaenas, while
necklaces made of the claws only are generally worn by chiefs of
distinction.  The white beads and teeth contrast strongly with the dark
skins of these people, and produce a very good effect.  Bound their
wrists they wear rings of brass, which are welded firmly on, and extend
sometimes nearly to the elbows; higher up the arm rings of ivory are
worn, which are punched out from the tusks of elephants.  Both the teeth
necklaces and the ivory rings are much valued, and cannot readily be
purchased.  I possess a specimen of both ornaments; the former I with
great difficulty obtained for eight shillings, a sum nearly equal in
value to a cow.

There appears to be great doubt, even amongst the best-informed, as to a
Kaffir's religion; that the Kaffirs have a belief in the future state,
there is, however, no doubt; but in what way they really look on this
state it is difficult to determine.  They believe in apparitions and the
return of the spirits of their departed friends after death.  _Shulanga_
is the term which they use to express this idea, and a Kaffir attributes
most of his successes and escapes to the thoughtful watchfulness of a
friendly spirit.  They are believers in witchcraft to an unlimited
extent; but what they understand by the term is very difficult to say.
I once obtained the character of a wizard by mixing a seidlitz-powder,
and drinking it off during effervescence, for the spectators took for
granted that the water was boiling.  The rain-makers have enormous
control over the tribes at times; but acquaintance with the white man
lessens the faith in these wizards.

The Hottentots are certainly the ugliest race on earth, and the first
view of them causes a feeling of almost horror.  Men they are, without
doubt, but many look more like baboons; their high cheek-bones, small
eyes, thick lips, yellow mummy sort of skin, with a few little crumbs of
hair like peppercorns stuck over their heads and chins, give them a most
ridiculous appearance.  Their short stature, rarely over five feet, and
frequently less, with the rough costume of untanned leather breeches,
etc., would make but a sorry spectacle were they to be paraded in
Regent-street on their rough-looking Cape horses beside a troop of
Life-guards.  But still greater would be the ridicule were a troop of
the latter to be transported to Africa, and then told to follow these
active little Hottentot soldiers through the bush, and to attack the
band of Kaffirs hidden in the dark kloof above: each is good in his
calling.

The Cape corps is almost entirely composed of Hottentots, and they are
right well fitted for the work of fighting the Kaffirs.  Courageous and
cunning, endowed with a sort of instinct that seems superior to reason,
they can hear, see, and almost smell danger in all shapes, and are ever
on the watch for suspicious signs.  No footmark of Kaffir, wolf, lion,
or elephant is passed unnoticed; no bird is seen to flit away from a
distant bush without apparent cause, but a careful watch is at once set
up; not a dog lifts up his ears, but the Totty--as the Hottentot is
familiarly called--is also suspicious.

The wild life led in Africa causes even one lately removed from
civilisation to feel his instincts become rapidly keener.

A man who has been born and nurtured in the wilderness, therefore, must
be far superior to the freshly transplanted European, who finds that he
has to commence the A, B, C, under these very men whose appearance would
at first produce only a feeling of contempt for their prowess.

A deadly hatred exists between the Kaffir and the Hottentot, and both
are equally expert in the bush, where an Englishman is so rarely at
home.

In fair fighting the British soldier has proved that no country produces
men fit to cope with him; but let him be cautious of ambuscades and
bush-fighting.

A naval officer, who was in a fort on the west coast of Africa, happened
to be attacked by the natives, but as his fort was a stronghold that the
barbarians could make nothing of, they were easily repulsed.  Elated
with his successful defence, he sallied out, and gave them a good
drubbing on some open ground near.  But not contented with this triumph,
he must needs follow them up into the bush, where he was defeated with
great slaughter.  His jaw-bones are now said to be beating the big drum
of Ashantee.

Our victories over the barbarians of Africa have not been so very great,
but that we might condescend to take a useful lesson from these men,
savages as they are.

Any man who has seen the Kaffirs or Hottentots approach dangerous
game,--their perseverance, courage, activity, and hardihood, combined
with caution and cunning, may easily understand that they could employ
these gifts in a manner that would make them anything but despicable
enemies.

There is a recklessness about the Hottentot which the Kaffir does not
possess, the former being a thorough spendthrift.  Give him ammunition
for his defence, and he will blaze away at tree or bush, air or ground,
until it is all expended, and with no other object or reason than for
amusement, or thinking that a Kaffir _might_ be near.

I had the following story from a Kaffir, one of the actors, who remarked
to me the great quantity of ammunition that had been wasted in a
skirmish.

Three Kaffirs were hidden behind some rocks on a hill, watching the
advance of a party of the Hottentots who were sent out to take cattle.
As this party entered a ravine below the Kaffir spies, one of the latter
crept down in the bush, and, taking care to get a safe place, fired a
shot.  A volley from the Hottentots was the response, and they continued
firing into the bush, from which no return came, until the whole of
their ammunition was expended.  The Kaffir remarked to me that, had his
party been larger, he could then have attacked the lavish invaders at a
great advantage.

I always admired the neat little double-barrelled carbine of the Cape
corps; it is light, effective, and, being double-barrelled, is far more
destructive where snap-shooting is all the chance one gets.  I never
thoroughly understood why the whole army should not have
double-barrelled guns.

It is a difficult matter at first to tell the Fingo from the Kaffir, but
after a little practice one soon sees many distinctions.  The Fingo, for
instance, always bores holes in his ears, and frequently carries things
in them, which is not the case with the Kaffir.

The frontier hush is principally composed of the mimosa and wait-a-bit
thorn; the fish-hook-like shape of the latter, and the long spears of
the former, make a journey through the bush very destructive to clothes:
one ought to have a suit of armour to get on comfortably.



CHAPTER THREE.

NARROW ESCAPE--SANDILLI GOES HOME--VOYAGE TO NATAL--MY FELLOW,
PASSENGERS--TEMPTING VIANDS--PROPERTY OVERBOARD--NATAL BAY--THE "TICK"--
BEAUTY OF THE VEGETATION--DOLCE FAR NIENTE--CAPE HORSES--POINTS OF A
CAPE HORSE--SHOOTING-PONIES--MODE OF JOURNEYING--THE "SICKNESS"--
TRAINING A SHOOTING-HORSE--ENDURANCE OF CAPE HORSES--A ROUGH JOURNEY--A
STORMY NIGHT--AGREEABLE TERMINATION.

After about eight months of frontier life, which was little better than
so much banishment, I had directions to leave the colony and embark at
Algoa Bay for conveyance to Natal.  I had to wait in the wretched town
of Port Elizabeth for a period of three weeks, during which time I was
nearly drowned in the bay, owing to swimming out too far, and forgetting
the strength of the current which set along the shore.  While waiting
there, I visited the pretty little village of Uitenage, with its neat
houses, gardens, and tree-lined streets.

On the road to Graham's Town, I met a large party of Kaffirs, galloping
along as usual, leaving a cloud of dust behind.  They pulled up as I met
them, when I recognised the great Gaika chief Sandilli, Anta the giant,
a splendid fellow nearly seven feet high, and all the aristocracy of
Kaffirland.  They had been for some time prisoners in Graham's Town for
their rebellious conduct in not stopping the cattle-stealing of their
men, but had now been let out, and allowed to go home, on condition of
promising to be good boys in future, and kissing the governor's great
toe.  They appeared to be in high spirits, and, in answer to my "_Uya
pina_?"  (Where are you going?) shouted with exultation, "_Goduka_"
(Going home).

The little ship that carried me and my goods from Port Elizabeth was
badly supplied in every way.  The captain was a happy bridegroom, and
because he had been living for a fortnight on love, seemed to think that
others should have equally as refined an appetite.  I thought that even
our start was bad, for there was something wrong in getting the anchor
up.

The other passengers were two in number,--the one a jolly fat Dutchman,
who used to sit in his little chest-of-drawers-like bed-place, and
tootle unknown airs on a flute; and the other a carpenter well to do at
Natal, who never changed his clothes, and talked through his nose.

As the cabin was only eight feet square, there was no place for the
latter individual to sleep upon but the floor.  He shook down a blanket
for his bed, and regularly at about ten o'clock became horizontal, and,
looking at me with only one eye open, remarked that he "turned in all
standing like a trooper's 'orse."  This he repeated with precisely the
same expression of face every night, till at last it made me quite
nervous, and I used to remain very late on deck for the sole object of
escaping this infliction.  When he did not use his nose for talking, he
still prevented it from lying silent by snoring through it with a sound
like a locomotive engine blowing off steam.

The distance from Algoa Bay to Natal was but 600 miles, and yet we were
twenty-three days on that tempestuous coast, most of the time half under
water.  A hurricane blew during the greater part of the voyage, and in
ten days after leaving Algoa Bay we were off Cape L'agulhas, or 300
miles further from our destination than when we started.

I should not have been so much annoyed, had there been anything to eat
or drink; but the beer was all finished in three days: wine there was
none, with the exception of a composition of Cape stuff, that had been
shaken up into the appearance of a pot of blacking, and was very like
vinegar in taste.  A dish of pork swimming in its own fat was our usual
meal, with the exception of some mutton, which I declined, in
consequence of having seen the sheep die a death all but natural.  This
fate was only prevented by the wonderful activity of a sailor, who acted
as butcher, and who, on seeing from aloft the state of affairs, came
down one of the back stays by the run, and stuck his knife into the--I
am afraid to say which--sheep, or mutton.  He declared, however, that it
was sheep, while the fat Dutchman "verdamt" it was mutton.  A jury, of
the captain and mate was called, who took evidence, and decided that the
sheep had been fairly killed.

Another delicacy with which we were favoured was some water in which a
cabbage was daily boiled; this composition the captain dignified with
the name of soup; it came day after day, and was worse each time--while
around the taffrail ten more cabbages hung.

I was sitting one day beside the Dutchman, improving my knowledge of his
language, when I noticed that he had been for some time looking with a
melancholy sort of face at this row of esculents.  Our eyes met, and he
asked me, with an expressive voice, "if I liked cabbage-soup?"  I met
him more than half-way, and said, "No; and if you are only a man, we
won't have any more."  We understood one another immediately, and met on
that evening by appointment, when the halter of each vegetable was
quickly cut, and they all dropped with a cheerful splash into the sea.
Suspicions there might be, and were, respecting the guilty party, but no
certainty.

We were all alarmed one day by the mate reporting that there was a deal
of water forward amongst the coals; so all hands set to work to get the
coals out, and then to look for a leak; which proceeding was not
accomplished without considerable risk, as the sea was tremendous, and
the little brigantine, being only about 140 tons, made very bad weather
of it.  Fortunately there was no leak, the water having come from above
instead of below, owing to the heavy pitching.

We envied the fine-looking Indiamen, who frequently rolled past us with
their stun'-sails set and every sail drawing, while we were pitching and
tossing, and making scarcely any progress.  "More wind in your jib," was
frequently applied by our sailors to the vessels that met us, and at
length was responded to by the south-east gale changing to a north-west,
which enabled us eventually to reach the wished-for Bluff of Natal,
where we were boarded by the port-boat.  With only one bump on the bar,
we passed to the smooth water inside, and, sailing along the narrow
channel, obtained a sight of the glorious bay of Port Natal.

It is difficult for any pen to give an adequate idea of the beautiful
view, and almost impossible for one as unskilled as mine, to convey to
the imagination of the reader even a slight impression of the glorious
reality that was presented by the bay and surrounding country of Natal.
It broke suddenly upon the wearied eye after three weeks' perpetual
contemplation of leaden-coloured water had tired the vision and caused a
thirst for the green and earthy.

On our left, as we entered, rose the bluff, densely wooded to the
water's edge, the branches of the trees, with their rich foliage, almost
brushing the vessel's yards.  Two hundred and fifty feet of this nearly
perpendicular vegetable-clad wall formed our foreground, while the
middle distance was represented by the calm and brilliant waters of the
bay, with two or three thickly-wooded islands.  Numbers of wild fowls
floated about, and among these the delicate colours of the flamingo and
the grotesque forms of the pelican were conspicuous, the white plumage
of some cranes standing out like stars in the blue waters.  In the
distance were seen the densely wooded hills of the Berea and the white
chimneys of a few of the plastered houses of D'Urban village; while
little wreaths of light smoke coming through the trees gave indication
that the culinary processes of a habitation were being carried on.

The waters of the bay extend nearly six miles inland, and at the extreme
end, the refraction from heat, etc., caused some of the mangrove-trees
that lined the banks to be magnified or inverted, while others appeared
to be suspended in the air, and to have no connection with the earth
below.  We dropped our anchor in this smoothest of harbours, where no
wind could move the ship.  As we were within a few yards of the shore,
we soon received visits from several residents, who came to the vessel
for the latest news.

I was so ill when I landed, on account of the confinement on board and
our bad provisions, that I was obliged to remain in bed for several days
at the miserable "hotel" of the village: I was kindly attended by the
resident surgeon of the troops, under whose skilful hands I soon
recovered.

Having regained health and strength, I began to look out for a horse,
but had great difficulty in getting all that I required; at length an
animal was offered me at a reasonable price, and he became my property.
He merely served for riding about in the deep sandy roads near, or for
saving me from the persecution of a little animal called a "tick," whose
armies were quartered upon every blade of grass and leaf of tree.  On
the first opportunity these little creatures transferred their adhesive
qualities, with great delight, to the most retired situations of a
newly-arrived victim; there they would bury themselves under the skin,
and before their invasion could be discovered, produced an irritation
and a sore that enlarged with great rapidity and became a serious evil.

A thorough inspection and frequent bathing were the two best antidotes;
the leaf of the Kaffir gooseberry I also found very effective; it should
be bruised, laid over the part bitten, and held on by wrappers of linen.

Each ride that I took brought more beauties before me; the sterile
appearance of the frontier was here exchanged for the most luxuriant and
fragrant vegetation.  Forests appeared, hung with creepers and scented
blossoms; undulating grassy slopes, with detached and park-like clumps
of trees.  Here and there the calm silvery water of the bay was seen in
the distance through openings in the forest, or under the flat
horizontal foliage of the umbrella-acacia, whose graceful shape,
combined with the palm, the gigantic euphorbias, and the brilliant
Kaffir-boom, formed the characteristics of this bush.  Let the admirers
of architectural art talk of their edifices and public buildings, they
are not equal to a single tree.  Bricks and mortar, stones, plaster,
chimneys, etc., are heaps of rubbish when compared to a natural forest,
every leaf and flower of which is a witness and an evidence of that
mighty Power who creates with as much ease the endless worlds about us
as the minutest details of vegetable and animal life, the perfect
working and machinery of which are more than wonderful.

The annoyance to which an individual must submit during a voyage over
nine thousand miles of ocean is well repaid by a scene of this kind,
that scarcely needs its accompaniments of many animated specimens of
nature, in the shape of birds, bucks, and monkeys, to enliven it.
Still, however, there are some human natures so dead to the purely
beautiful, and so entirely fettered to the things less pure, that all
the beauty I have so feebly described is passed over unadmired and
almost unnoticed; and the same round and routine is carried on in the
leisure hours of such men as though they were in Portsmouth, Plymouth,
or some other well-peopled town.

"How do you pass your time?"  I asked of an intellectual looking
gentleman with whom I dined soon after landing.

"Oh, I backy a good deal, and bathe sometimes, but it is too hot to do
much," was his answer.

"Do you sketch?"

"Well, I'm no hand at that."

"Is there no game about?  I have heard that bucks were numerous and
elephants very near."

"Well, if you bother about them, I dare say you may see lots; but it's
too much trouble for me, and I am no shot."

Poor miserable man! he took no interest in anything; he had no pleasure
in viewing the most wonderful and beautiful works of nature, and had no
gratification in placing on paper even a poor representation of the
scenes before his eyes, for the future amusement of friends less
favoured by locality.  No! there was trouble or bother in it; there was
neither, he thought, in smoking tobacco, and drinking brandy-and-water:
the first habit, however, has ruined his health, the latter his
prospects and character.

I know many men who through their devotion to field-sports have avoided
many of those evils which others, through nothing but a life of
idleness, have incurred.

I was soon fortunate enough to purchase a very useful second pony, which
was an accomplished animal in every way: he would stop immediately when
I dropped the reins, or crossed the gun over the saddle, or rested my
hand on his neck, or even if a buck sprung up in front of him.  He would
stand fire like a rock, and would not shake his head or start on any
account, nor did he care for elephants or anything else.  He was a most
useful auxiliary, and from his back I shot elands, hartebeest, reitbok,
ourebis, steinbok, duikers, etc.  He would allow small bucks to be put
up behind the saddle, and would carry them quietly.

I passed a month in making myself acquainted with the country around
D'Urban, its rivers, paths, and kloofs, and also in studying the Zulu
language, which I found to differ slightly from the frontier Kaffir.  I
always carried a dictionary with me, and, upon meeting any natives, sat
down, and, pulling out my book, asked word for word what I wanted.  I
rarely failed in making myself understood, and then the Kaffir would
repeat my words, giving the correct pronunciation and grammar.  If, for
instance, I was thirsty and wanted some milk, I would look in my
dictionary for "I want."  _Funa_, I would find, expressed to want;
_amasi_ or _ubisi_, milk (the first being sour milk, a very refreshing
drink, and the latter sweet milk); _uku posa_, to drink.  "Puna ubisi
uku posa," I would say.  The Kaffir would give a kind of intelligent
grunt, such as _er-er_, and say, "Wena funa posa ubisi."  I then
repeated the sentence after him, putting _di_, I, for _wena_, you, and
bore in mind that "Di funa posa amasi (_or_ ubisi)," was I want to drink
some sour (or sweet) milk.  By this means I was soon able to ask for
everything I wanted, and in six months could talk the language with
tolerable freedom.  I found it of inconceivable use in my solitary
trips, as I was then independent of Dutch farmers, English squatters,
etc.; a Kaffir kraal always supplying the few things I wanted; and I was
by its aid enabled to see and hear more than by any other means.

I recommend every person who may be in a strange country at once to set
to work and acquire its language; it turns out generally a most useful
amusement.

By these Kaffirs I was taught the art of spooring; my lessons were
learned over the print of some buck's foot on the bent-down blade of a
bit of grass.  Spooring requires as much study and practice as any other
science, and a professor is often required to decide some knotty point,
such as the number of days since a buffalo passed, or at what hour
certain elephants rolled in the mud.  It first appeared to me very much
a matter of guess, but I afterwards saw the reasons throughout for the
Kaffirs' conclusions.

A few rough outlines, showing the spoors of some of the different
South-African animals may be useful to an inexperienced hunter.

_A_ is the footprint of a Bull-Elephant (circular).

_B_ Cow-Elephant (elliptical).

_C_ Rhinoceros.

_D_ Hippopotamus.

_E_ Buffalo.  The animal can also be known by its dung being different
from that of the antelope.

_F_ Eland.

_G_ the footprint of antelopes of different species, such as the
Hartebeest, Reitbok, Duiker, and Bush-buck; practice will alone enable
the sportsman to distinguish between each.

_H_ is the footprint of a Wild Pig or Vleck Vark.

_I_ Ostrich.

_K_ Hyaena.

_L_ Leopard; the Lion's is similar but much larger.

The pace at which, an animal has travelled may be judged by the
impressions of its footmarks, or the position in which these impressions
lie.

_T_ would indicate that an animal had galloped or cantered, the distance
between S and S' being great or small, in proportion as the animal had
moved fast or slowly.

_R_ would indicate that the animal had walked or trotted; if it had
moved at a trot, the toes of the hoof would be seen to have indented
themselves in the ground more deeply than had the heel, and most
probably some grass, gravel, or soil, would be found lying on the
ground, they having been kicked up by the animal in its rapid passage.
Practice alone enables a man to judge of the length of time that has
elapsed since the animal passed.  A good plan is to scrape up the ground
with the foot and compare this "spoor" with the animal's footprints.

When judging of elephants, it may be concluded, that if they browsed,
they must have moved slowly; if they are found to have passed through
the forest in Indian file, they travelled at a quick walk; and if they
disregarded old paths and smashed the branches or trees in their course,
that they moved very rapidly.  Other signs the hunter will soon learn by
experience, that best of all instructors.

The Kaffirs in this district are most quiet, harmless, honest people,
living in small villages, each of about twenty kraals.  These they build
in a ring, the place for the cattle being in the centre.  The houses of
these people are composed of wickerwork and thatch.  One or two stout
poles are driven into the centre of a circle of about fifteen feet in
diameter; round the circumference of the circle, long pliable sticks are
stuck into the ground, and then bent over and made fast to the top of
the pole or poles driven into the centre, which are left about eight
feet out of the ground.  This framework gives the skeleton outline of a
beehive-looking hut, which the builders cross with other pieces, and
finally thatch with long grass.

The furniture consists generally of two or three assagies, some
club-sticks, a pipe made from an ox's horn, some skins, a few dried
gourds to retain the milk, a wooden pillow, some beads, and small gourd
snuff-boxes.  These habitations are certainly snug, warm when a fire is
lighted, and cool without one.  They are entered by a small opening
about three feet high, which is closed by a wickerwork door.  The whole
clump of huts is surrounded by high palings.

Although they numbered near seventy thousand souls, if not more, these
Kaffirs lived together, and with the white intruders, in the greatest
harmony.  Scarcely a case of theft or crime was known amongst them
during my residence of two years and upwards.  Many of them have run
away from the tyranny of the Zulu king across the Tugela river; and
finding safety in the protection afforded by the presence of the white
men, they live a pastoral and harmless life.

I have trusted myself alone amongst them, many miles from any other
white man, and never met with anything disrespectful or annoying in
their treatment.  If much accustomed to deal with white men, they are
given sometimes to ask for presents; but the less they know of the
whites, the less I always found the Kaffirs so disposed.  As auxiliaries
in the bush they were unequalled, and I rarely moved without taking at
least two with me.  Enduring, cheerful, sensible, and unassuming, they
were thoroughly skilled in tracking game; they could be sent home with a
buck, and the horse thus be kept unencumbered, or the hunter himself
free for more sport.

I was always gathering some lesson from them either as to the animals
which we pursued, their habits or their trail, the things good to eat in
the forests or those to be avoided.  The Kaffirs' ambition was limited,
a cow or a blanket being sometimes the extent of their desires.

In a country of this description one has the pleasure of great freedom.
It is certainly pleasant for once in a life to feel like a wild man,--to
throw off all the restraints imposed by the rules of society, and to
wander, unwatched, uncriticised, amongst the wonders and beauties of
nature.  Dress, that all-important subject in civilised countries, and
about which the minds of hundreds are wholly engrossed, is here a dead
letter, or nearly so.  Could a man dye his hide a dark brown, he might
walk about with a few strips of wild-beast skins hung around him, and
not attract particular attention.  Novelty has certainly a wonderful
charm, and perhaps it may be for this reason that a man fresh from
civilisation feels so much pleasure in sharing the pastimes and
excitements of the savage.  A wet tent is by no means an agreeable
residence, and frequently during the heavy rains that visited Natal, I
shouldered my gun, and paid an afternoon call to some Kaffirs who lived
a mile or so from my camping-ground.  We had plenty of conversation, and
could afford mutual instruction about many subjects on which we were
each respectively ignorant.  I believe that, if we inquire without
partiality, we shall find no man so ignorant but that there is some one
subject upon which he can instruct us.  I rarely found a Kaffir who
could not afford me a vast amount of information on many subjects; and
all the cunning and art of an English lawyer would scarcely improve the
Kaffir's style of reasoning.  I believe that common sense is more
admired by the savage than the civilised man; it certainly is by the
savages with whom I have conversed.  While in civilisation the most
sensible and sound arguments or advice are "pooh-poohed" or neglected,
because they happen to come from one who is unknown in the world for
wealth, position, or fashion, amongst savages these same arguments or
advices are received at their proper valuation, irrespective of the soil
from whence they spring.  The words of a chief or _induna_ [Councillor]
are generally worth hearing, and consequently receive their proper
respect; but if the logic used by either happens to be unsound, any
common man whose capacity is equal to the competition may enter the
lists, and come out victorious; a Kaffir is not too bigoted to
acknowledge that he may have been wrong.  The man who thus gained a
victory by his more sensible argument would neither be much elevated nor
proud in consequence, but would merely consider himself as a man who had
pointed out a by-path that had been overlooked by the traveller.  The
Kaffirs easily appreciate reasoning by analogy; I frequently tried its
powers upon them, and with invariable success.  On one occasion an old
Kaffir laughed at me, because of a mistake that I made in speaking his
language.  I used the word _inyama_ to express _black_, when I should
have used _mnyama_; the former word signifying _flesh_ or _meat_.  After
he had laughed immoderately, I asked him how long he had known
Englishmen; he said, many tens of moons.  I then said, "How much English
do you speak?"

"None."

"Why not?"

"Because I cannot hear the Englishman's words."  I then told him that I
had known Kaffirs scarcely twenty moons, that I could speak my own
language as well as he spoke his, and, in addition, I could speak his
sufficiently well to converse.  Therefore he ought to laugh at himself
for knowing nothing of my language, not at me for knowing so little of
his; besides which, as his hair was grey, he ought to possess more
wisdom.  He was much struck by the argument, and repeated it to several
other Kaffir men, all of whom appeared equally to appreciate it.  I
doubt whether a civilised man would have been as much affected by this
reasoning as were the Kaffirs; for how often do we find that foreigners
are ridiculed by the ignorant Englishman because they cannot speak
English correctly, the quiz forgetting at the same time that he cannot
utter two words correctly in any other, language than his own, and that
he very frequently fails even in that.

But it is the vulgar error to laugh at people as ignorant because we may
discover that they know less on some one subject than we do.  Some of
our most scientific men would be sad "pigeons" and regular dunces, were
they to show in the ring at Epsom, and few of our celebrated statesmen
would be equal to the savage in the crafts necessary in an African
forest.  The savages rarely make the blunder of choosing the wrong man;
they are very excellent judges of character, and consequently would not
choose a man to fire a long shot or fight a battle because he was a good
hand at stringing beads together, or talking at their council-fires.
They select the man on account of his fitness for the post.  Here
savages have a great advantage over civilised men.  Amongst the latter,
individuals are frequently chosen in the most fantastic way;--mere
theorists are used for practical purposes; and men placed in positions
where quick decision and energy of character are all-important, and
where trifles should not be allowed to interfere, because perhaps these
men have excelled in the minute details of some office, or are famous
for increasing a correspondence already too large.  We might as
reasonably select a man to ride our racers simply because he had studied
and understood the anatomy of the horse.  While the learned theorist was
arguing about or reasoning on which muscle or nerve ought to be excited,
the practical jock would be busy at the "pull and hustle," and would win
as he pleased.  The Kaffirs, from whom my experience was gained, however
low they ranked in savage society, had none of the offensive or
presumptuous manners that are met with so frequently amongst the vulgar
in civilisation.  They never pretended to more than they possessed in
any way, or by a system of deceit, lying, or false appearance,
endeavoured to persuade others that they were really more than simple
savages.

Let us now contrast these men with a civilised house.  On one occasion I
paid a visit to the house of a settler, who was clothed in white linen
jacket, straw hat, fustian trowsers, and coarse shirt, and was busy at
work in his garden.  His wife met me, and, being acquainted, we at once
entered into conversation.  I wished to hear about the soil, the
thriving of poultry, etc.; but at first this would-be great lady could
utter nothing but apologies for being so "dreadfully dressed."  She then
gave a long history of the number of her great friends in England, and
described the astonishment of these aristocrats were they to hear of
_her_ being in such a wilderness.  Then, pointing to her husband, she
said, "Ah, dear me! to see--now, you would scarcely imagine what a
stylish man he was formerly.  In England, he used to wear his hair long,
and when he had greased it, and put on a clean shirt on a Sunday, there
was not a more gentlemanly-looking man in London."  With some difficulty
I immediately invented a story, at which I pretended to laugh
immoderately, and thus concealed my want of appreciation of the former
elegance of her dear, fallen spouse.

The extremes on very many occasions appear to meet.  The perfectly
uncultivated man is certainly nearer perfection than he who has picked
up a little knowledge, and is puffed up in consequence.  We see this in
so many subjects.  In music, for instance, it is sweeter to hear a
person (who may be ignorant of the science) play by ear an air, than
listen to the struggles and unmusical contortions produced by some
beginner trying to play by notes, on scientific principles.  When one
advances, and makes the acquired knowledge subservient to the natural,
the admired effect is then produced.

A ring, composed of grease, wax, and wood, is worn on the head of the
Kaffir men.  I believe it to be a sign of a man having arrived at the
dignity of marriage; it is called _esikoko_, the two k's signifying two
clicks of the tongue.

This clicking is a peculiarity of several South-African languages.  The
Bushmen, Hottentots, and Kaffirs have each several clicks.  The Natal
Kaffirs use but three, and these not frequently, as there are few words
but can be understood without the click.  In the Bushmen's language,
very many are used, and I have heard that a Bushman is not considered to
speak his language elegantly until age has deprived him of all his
teeth.  These curious little men use a great deal of action during their
conversation; and it is said, that if a Bushman wishes to talk during a
dark night, he is obliged to light a fire, to enable the listeners to
see his action, and thereby fully to comprehend his meaning.  A deadly
hatred exists between the Kaffirs and the Bushmen, and war to the knife
is the result of any chance encounter, always supposing that neither
party can retreat, as they have a mutual dread of each other.

I soon made inquiries with reference to the game in the Natal district,
and was informed that the following were the principal animals that were
plentiful; viz.,--snipe, quail, partridges of three species, pheasant,
two species of Guinea-fowl,--one that was generally found in the plains,
the other in the forests: the latter was a very fine bird, excellent
eating, and very handsome; he had a fine top-knot on his head, but was
otherwise similar, only superior in size, to that of the plains.  Two
species of bustards were common; viz., the coran and the pouw, both
excellent eating, the latter frequently reaching to a great size and
weight.  Ostriches were sometimes met on the plains near the
Draakensberg Mountains.  Many birds, brilliantly adorned, frequented the
forests, amongst which the golden cuckoo and the lowry were conspicuous.
Eagles and hawks of all sizes sailed around in search of prey, while
the little sugar-birds, with their long fluttering tails and their
dazzling plumage, gave an appearance of life to every bush.

Three species of bush-buck were plentiful in the forests along the
coast.  The finest is the black bush-buck (_Tragelaphus sylvaticus_).
The male is three feet high, and about five feet long; he is very
elegant, and stouter than the generality of antelopes; his horns about a
foot long, nearly straight, and wrinkled near the base; the general
colour is dark chestnut, black above, and marked with a streak of white
along the spine, with several white spots about the body: the female is
similar, but lighter-coloured, and without horns.  The ears, large and
round, are well adapted for the bush, and the hunter must be an adept
who approaches these antelopes without causing them alarm; few shots are
obtained at them, owing to their watchfulness.  The red bush-buck
(_Oreotragus griseus_) is a very common antelope in the wooded tracts up
the south-eastern coast.  The male is about two feet high, and about
three in length; small horns, three inches long, smooth, round, and
vertical; large ears; colour deep reddish-brown: the female similar, but
hornless.  The foot of this buck, between the division of the hoof
underneath, has a small hole that reaches to the fetlock-joint; a straw
can be pushed up in it to that extent.  I cannot conceive its object.
The blue buck (_Cephalophorus caeruleus_) is a beautiful creature; the
male is scarcely more than a foot in height, and about two feet three
inches long; ears like a rat's, but much larger; small and conical
horns, two inches in length, closely annulated; colour dark blue, or
mouse-colour: female hornless and smaller, otherwise similar.  These
three bush-bucks were solitary, and very wary.  The latter antelope was
very difficult to distinguish in the gloom of the bush, his colour
suiting well for concealment.  The duiker (_Cephalopus mergens_): most
frequently found amongst bushes, or long grass; about two feet high,
three feet eight inches long; horns four inches in length; colour dun:
female with smaller horns, otherwise similar.  The steinbuck
(_Oreotragus tragulus_): about twenty-one inches high, and three feet in
length; horns four inches long, wrinkled at the base, slender and
pointed; colour brownish-red, with belly white: female hornless,
otherwise similar.  Generally found in bushy ground along the hills.
The ourebi (_Oreotragus scoparius_): two feet high at shoulder, and four
in length; horns annulated, and about five inches long; colour pale
tawny, with white belly: female similar, but hornless and smaller.
Generally found in the plains in pairs.  The reit-buck (_Eleotragus
reduncus_): three feet high, nearly five feet in length; horns one foot
long, and annulated near the base; ears six inches long; colour
ashy-grey, white beneath: female smaller, but hornless, otherwise
similar.  Besides variously in reeds, grass, and near bushes.  Generally
found in pairs.  He frequently lies down in a small patch of grass, and,
from his colour, is overlooked by the sportsmen.

The leopard (_Felis leopardus_): male two feet six inches high at the
shoulder, and seven feet in extreme length; armed with long teeth and
retractile claws; colour tawny and reddish-brown; the chin, breast,
belly, and inside of extremities white, irregularly marked with spots of
black, which vary in size and colour at different ages and states of
condition; tail nearly four feet long: female similar, but smaller.
Found in thick coverts, either bush or reeds.  Destructive to poultry,
cattle, and game; generally seizes its victim by the back of the neck.

The spotted hyaena (_Crocuta maculata_): height about two feet six
inches, sloping towards the rump; length about five feet ten inches;
colour brown, with blotches of circular black spots; white under; head
short and broad; feet like a dog's; common in bush and plain: female
similar.  Destructive to sheep, calves, and foals; seizing them by the
flank, and holding on until the piece gives way or the animal falls.
This animal possesses a wonderful strength of jaw, grinding the bones of
the largest animals to powder: it is very cowardly.  The _Crocuta
brunnea_ was also common, but did not very greatly differ in habits or
appearance from the spotted hyaena.

The wild hog (_Sus Scrofa_): height two feet six inches; extreme length
about five feet; canine teeth very strong, those in the upper jaw
projecting horizontally, those in the lower upwards; colour dirty brown;
bristles long; tail a foot long.  Inhabits the forests (gregarious).

The African wild-boar (_Phacochaerus aethiopicus_): height two feet six
inches; extreme length six feet; colour reddish-brown; covered with
bristles; canine teeth, very large, curved upwards, forming a
semicircle; head very large, a large fleshy wen behind each eye, and an
excrescence on each side of the muzzle; tail tufted with bristles, two
feet long, straight.  Gregarious; found in the plains; retreats into
holes in the ground when pursued; dangerous when wounded.

The reh-buck (_Eleotragus villosus_): male two and a half feet high,
about five feet in length, slender, and neck long; horns about nine
inches long, straight, pointed, and slender; colour greyish-buff, white
beneath: female similar, but hornless and smaller.  Found in troops of
from six to twenty, generally on the rocky hills.

The hartebeest (_Acronotus Caama_): male five feet high, and nine in
extreme length; head long, horns forming nearly a right angle, rising
above the head about eight inches, and then turning backwards; colour
bright sienna, with a red shade, black stripes down the back of the
neck, on the fore-leg, and on the hind-leg: female smaller, with more
slender horns, otherwise similar.  Found in large herds in the plains.

The eland (_Boselaphus oreas_): male six feet high at the shoulder, and
about twelve feet in length; horns two feet long, with a ridge ascending
in a spiral direction about half-way up, the spiral making two turns
when the male is an adult; appearance like a bull, a broad dewlap
hanging to the knees; tail two feet six inches long; general colour dun,
or ashy-grey, with a blue tinge when heated: female smaller and
slighter, with more slender horns, and without the ridge; no dewlap.
Found in large herds in the plains.

The buffalo (_Bubalus Caffer_): male about five feet six inches high,
twelve feet in length, very heavily made, neck short, breast dew-lapped,
head ponderous, eyes nearly overshadowed by hair and the heavy
dark-coloured horns, which are nearly in contact at the base, spread out
horizontally, and curve round and inwards; hide bluish black, without
hair: female similar, but smaller in every way.  Found on the plains and
forests in herds, and often a solitary bull in the forests; very
dangerous.

The hippopotamus (_Hippopotamus amphibius_): four feet six inches high
at the shoulder, ten feet long; body ponderous, legs very short, head
thick, eye small, and placed in a prominence; ears small and round; the
upper incisors and canine teeth large,--the latter may be called tusks;
skin very thick and tough; colour pinkish-brown: female smaller.
Amphibious; found in the rivers and lakes; several still remain in
Sea-cow Lake, about six miles from Natal, and in several of the rivers
up the coast.  The ivory is valuable, as it is curved in the shape of
the nautical sextant, and being very hard, is especially adapted for the
fine lines used upon Vernier scales; the skin is cut up into whips,
called by the colonists _sjamboks_; the flesh is good eating, tasting
when salted something like pork.

The elephant (_Loxodonta africana_): male twelve feet high, droops
towards the tail; extreme length eighteen feet; colour blackish-brown;
tail short, tufted with coarse hair at the end; ears very large, and
front of head round; tusks large, from three to seven feet in length,
weighing nearly a hundred pounds: female smaller, with tusks, except
solitary specimens.  Gregarious; found in large troops in the forests;
wary, fierce, and vindictive.

Besides the animals that I have described, there were baboons, monkeys,
rock-rabbits (the _hyrax_), a species of hare, porcupines, the ratel,
many small vermin, such as the ichneumon, etc., in great numbers.  All
these animals were to be found in the Natal district in numbers, whilst
across the Drookensburg Mountains were camelopards, rhinoceros, zebras,
koodoo, wildebeest, gnoos, sassybys, water-buck, roan-antelope, blesbok,
springbok, pallahs, ostriches, and many other magnificent animals, in
countless herds.

A curious creature inhabits the African forest,--many specimens were
found by me in the Berea, near Natal; it is called the Manis.  It looks
like a large and scaly lizard, being covered with hard scales, or
plates, like thick short leaves; when lying on the ground motionless, it
resembles a vegetable.  Its body is long; tail twice the length of body;
total length, about four feet; it is toothless.

The Cape horses have been universally praised by travellers; they are
particularly hardy, game, and docile.  The climate in many parts of the
colony is well suited for breeding; and although inland but little
attention is paid to this important matter, still it is a rare
occurrence to find an animal, however ugly or misshapen, without its
redeeming quality.  At Cape Town and the immediate neighbourhood, the
horses generally are like those of England, with a slight trace of the
Arab in their head and hind-quarters; the breed, in fact, is a compound
of the English thoroughbred and the Arab.  Several well-known English
horses have found their way to the Cape, having been purchased for
exportation when they were stale or broken down; Fancy Boy, Battledore,
Rococo, Gorhambury, Evenus, and many more, having acted as fountains for
supplying a stream of pure blood through the equine veins of Africa.
Nearly a hundred horses of tolerable English fame have been landed at
the Cape within the last twenty years.

In many parts of the colony races are held, and the stakes are
sufficient to repay the winners for their expenses in training and
breeding.  In Cape Town horses of good appearance fetch from twenty-five
to sixty guineas, and very much larger prices are frequently given.  The
stallion is all-in-all with Cape breeders, the mare being considered as
quite a secondary item.  The consequence is, that from the frequent
disproportion between the dam and sire, awkward-looking animals are
common, more especially inland, where the science of breeding is less
understood: a horse is frequently seen with fore-quarters equal to
fifteen hands, and hind-quarters only large enough for a pony.  In
Africa many animals have a tendency to largeness about the
fore-quarters; the elephant, wildebeest, and hartebeest appearing
unnaturally heavy in front, and as though they required but a push from
behind to send them on their noses.  Whether the climate has anything to
do with this peculiar form I know not, but the horses are seldom too
large in their hind-quarters, although the Hottentots and the Cape sheep
are in this particular absolutely ponderous.

The Hantam and Swellendam districts are celebrated for their breed of
horses, and these supply great part of the colony.  The qualities most
esteemed amongst the Cape breeders are,--small head, small ears, large
nostril, small muzzle, broad chest, large bone in the leg, short in the
cannon and pastern, toes rather turned in than out; well ribbed home
(many Dutchmen would not buy a horse that allowed more than four fingers
to be placed between the last rib and the hip-bone); broad behind, with
the tail set on very high (this last is a _specialite_); cow-hocks are
detested.  Several small peculiarities are esteemed at the Cape that are
not even observed in England; for instance, a Dutchman once told me that
he knew a pony of mine must be enduring, from the small size of the
corns on the inside of the hind-legs; he assured me that, when this was
the case, a horse rarely tired, while, when the reverse, he generally
shut up with only half a journey.  I must own that I found this man's
theory correct, as far as my experience carried me.

The Cape shooting-ponies are most extraordinary animals.  In a country
of this description, where every small journey, or even call, is made on
horseback, the pony is more convenient than the horse; he is more easily
mounted, is cheaper both to keep and buy, and is generally more
manageable and teachable.  Beauty forms no necessary item with a
shooting-pony; he is often ugly, misshapen, big-headed, and small in
girth; but upon examining him closely, the large bone of the leg, game
head, and large nostril, with several other recommendations, cancel the
imperfection of want of beauty.  His action also is peculiar; he rarely
walks, his mode of progression being a sort of tripple, at which he
travels about six or seven miles an hour: trotting is not admired by the
Boers.  When the pony gallops, he shows good action, and his activity in
scrambling down the hills that are covered with loose stones, rocks, and
holes, is something marvellous; he is seldom shod, his hoofs being as
hard and tough as iron.  I usually shod the fore hoofs, as the roads
were sometimes hard in or near the towns; but inland, where the country
was nearly all grass, even this was unnecessary.  The hardiness of these
ponies was extraordinary; they frequently had but little to eat, and
less to drink, were ridden long journeys, and then, while covered with
sweat, turned out on a plain to pick up a very scanty meal.  Their
principal forage was fresh air and a roll in the sand; and upon these
they thrived very well, while grooming was considered quite an
unnecessary labour, and a proceeding that did more harm than good.

When a Boer takes a long journey, he rides one pony and leads two
others, changing his saddle from back to back, as each animal has done
its share.  Biding for two hours, and off-saddling for half an hour, is
the usual arrangement; six miles an hour being the general pace.  When a
traveller halts in Africa, which he does in a well-chosen spot, near
water and shade if possible, he takes off the saddle and bridle, and
knee-halters his horse; this last affair is nothing more than fastening
the animal's head to its leg just above the knee; the leg is lifted up,
and the halter passed round, and formed into a clove hitch: thus held,
the animal is unable to move away quickly, and can be caught when
required: the halter does not slip, or gall the leg.  As soon as the
pony finds himself at this partial liberty, he searches for a dry, sandy
place, scrapes the ground a little, and then enjoys his roll; he gets up
covered with dust and dirt, takes a drink, and loses no time, but at
once picks up as much grass as the place affords.  When the traveller is
again ready, the animal is up-saddled, and the journey continued.  Few
of the colonial settlers have stables; the pony, on completing the
journey, is turned out to graze until evening, when it is driven into an
inclosure fenced with palings or brushwood, and thus left uncovered and
uncombed.  In the morning, it is turned out for the day.  The
better-kept horses have oats, barley, and Indian corn; oats being
expensive in many parts of South Africa, barley is obliged to supply its
place, and the horses consequently suffer in condition; the Indian corn
is fattening, but is very inferior to oats; it is also dangerous by
blowing out horses; and if they are allowed to drink much after eating
it, they sometimes die from the swelling of the corn inside them, or the
gas there generated.

About the coast of Natal, horses did not thrive well; the climate was
rather relaxing, and "the sickness," as it is called, sometimes attacked
them.  The enormous number of ticks that transferred their adhesive
properties from the grass to the hides of the horses, and then sucked
the blood, was a species of outlay that few of the hard-worked
quadrupeds could afford.  If a horse were turned out to graze in the
morning, he would before evening be covered with hundreds of ticks, each
of which, by burying itself under the horse's skin and sucking the
blood, becomes distended and increased from the size and appearance of a
common bug to that of a broad-bean.  A Kaffir would be nearly an hour in
clearing a horse from these animals, and after all overlook scores,
whose distended hides would appear in the morning.  The sickness that I
refer to was very fatal: a horse would one day appear well, but perhaps
a little heavy in hand; the next day he would be down on his side, and
dead before the evening.  I attended the _post-mortem_ of one or two
animals that died in this way, but could discover nothing decidedly
unhealthy: this, however, was most probably owing to my want of
experience in the veterinary art.  The Boers are frequently unmerciful
to their horses, and I seldom rode a horse that had been very long in
the possession of a Boer, but I found its mouth like iron and its temper
none of the sweetest.  The Dutchmen frequently train their
shooting-horses to stand fire by galloping them for two or three miles
and then firing twenty or thirty shots from their backs.  If these
horses are at all frisky under the discharge, the merciless riders,
plying whip and spur, take another gallop, and repeat the performance
until they conquer the restlessness of their steeds.  This is certainly
not a proceeding likely to improve the temper of any animal,
particularly if well bred or having any fire in its composition; but
rough-and-ready is the great thing in Africa.

When well-trained, the Cape shooting-pony is worth his weight in gold;
he is treated more like a dog than a horse, knows when he is spoken to,
and obeys orders, fears nothing, and seems to delight in sport.  I
possessed a pony that was so easily managed and steady, that I
frequently shot snipe, partridges, and always buck, from off his back.
He was my daily companion for two years, and rarely played me a trick.
He had a queer temper; but, knowing this, I made due allowance, and we
always managed things well.  If I spurred him, or pulled the rein, when
he approached a hill, he would stop and refuse to advance; but a word or
two in Dutch, in place of the assault, would make matters progress
satisfactorily.  I heard that his career after I left was unfortunate;--
he passed through one or two hands who could not have understood him,
and was finally killed by a lion in the interior.  I can easily imagine
that such would have been his fate, should he be in the vicinity of a
hungry lion, as he never showed fear of elephants or any other animal,
and was not alarmed by the smell of a fresh lion's skin past which I
rode one day.

The Boers are generally very heavy men, and the small shooting-ponies
that they ride appear fearfully overweighted: a pony of twelve or
thirteen hands is ridden long journeys, and hunted, by a Boer of some
fourteen or sixteen stone weight.  The game little animal does its work
well in spite of the weight it carries; and one of the surprising facts
to an Englishman fresh in the African hunting-field is the pace at which
the Boers thus mounted go across country.  Neither whip nor spur is
spared during a chase, and, not contented with the day's hard work,
these Boers sometimes on returning home take a half-mile gallop as a
test of the enduring qualities of their ponies.  During my experience in
Africa, I was but once unfortunate enough to have a horse that I was
riding knock up with me: the animal was a new purchase, and had led a
life of idleness during some previous weeks.  The results of its failing
me were a thorough ducking and a very unpleasant journey of near five
miles.  It may give an idea of the manners of the civilised man of South
Africa, if I detail the circumstance.  I left Pietermaritzburg about
three o'clock in the afternoon, and purposed resting for the night at
Stony Hill, the distance being twenty-five miles.  About eight miles had
been accomplished, when I was attracted by a grand fight between two
bulls.  I watched the struggle for a considerable time, and admired the
courage of each combatant: sometimes they would charge each other, and,
falling on their knees, roar and bellow with mingled rage and pain.
Victory for a long time was doubtful, until the strength of one appeared
to be failing, and then, turning tail, he galloped off, followed by his
conqueror.  Finding that the sun had moved a considerable distance while
I was engaged in watching the bull-fight, I pushed on faster than the
usual African travelling-pace, and found, before twelve miles were
ridden, that my horse appeared much distressed.  The day was intensely
hot, and I thought an "off-saddle" for half an hour might refresh the
animal; but upon again starting I found it difficult to spur even a trot
out of him.  I dismounted and tried to lead him, but found he was one of
those brutes that will not follow.  He stuck his head out as I drew the
reins tight, but would not stir an inch.  Remounting, I managed to
hustle him along at a smart walk; but even this I did not accomplish
without considerable manual and spur labour.  I had nearly five miles
before me, and the sun was within half an hour of setting.  Had the
night been fine, a ride would have been pleasant during the moonlight;
but the dark heavy clouds that were gathering round, and a drop of rain
that fell occasionally, gave earnest of a coming storm.  No house or
resting-place was there on the road, except that for which I was making
my way, and Botha's, which latter was five miles farther.  I reached
Stony Hill soon after dark, and was preparing to dismount at the door of
the inn, near which I noticed two waggons; when the man who kept the
establishment came out, and said, "Who's that?"  I told him that I
wanted a dinner, a bed, and stabling.  I heard him make a remark in
Dutch to some person within the building, and distinguished "verdamt
Englishmensch" as two of the words.  He then turned round to me, and
said, "I can't give you a dinner or a bed."  I told him that I was not
particular about what I ate, but, as my horse was knocked up, I could
not go farther.  He said, "Well, you shan't stop here; and if you didn't
mind sleeping in the pigsty, I wouldn't even let you have a bed there."
I was very angry with him, and high words ensued; and I am afraid that
deeds would have followed the words, had not a Hottentot near me
whispered that I had better not strike the man, as he would not hesitate
to use the knife when he was half-drunk.  I therefore turned my tired
horse again into the road, and, with a vigorous dig of the spur,
retreated, from the conflict.  I had now five miles of a very rough road
before me: it passed over stony hills, and wound round the side of
others.  The night was dark as Erebus, and the road, or rather beaten
track, could only be distinguished during the flashes of lightning,
which now came with blinding brilliancy.  My horse slipped down on his
side, and nearly broke my ankle, as we were passing round a hill on the
side of which the road sloped; the rain, that now fell with rapidity,
having made the track greasy and slippery.  Dismounting, I drove the
horse before me, but had great difficulty in getting him to keep the
beaten track; sometimes he would turn to the right or left, and the long
grass brushing against my legs would alone make me acquainted with the
fact of having left the road.  I then waited for a fresh flash of
lightning to enable me to regain the pathway.  Strange and indistinct
forms would be seen as the surrounding country was electrically
illuminated; the wild animals always choosing rainy or stormy weather to
wander forth from their rocks, holes, and coverts.  Nearly two hours
were passed in the midst of the most vivid lightning and deafening
thunder, while the rain poured upon me in torrents.  At the end of that
time I reached Botha's Hotel: I had to knock up the landlord from his
bed; but this civil and obliging man lighted a fire for me, and brought
the better half of a chicken-pie; in the enjoyment of which luxuries I
soon forgot the previous disagreeables; and throwing off my wet
garments, and fastening a blanket round my neck, and wrapping myself in
its folds Kaffir fashion, I feasted like a Zulu chief.



CHAPTER FOUR.

WARNINGS AGAINST THE BUSH--SEARCH AFTER A LEOPARD--UNSTEADY HANDS--
METHODS OF HUNTING ELEPHANTS--SPEED OF THE ELEPHANT--BUSH-TRAVELLING--
TRACES OF THE ELEPHANTS--SOLITUDE OF THE BUSH--TRACKING THE HERD--CHARGE
OF ANGRY ELEPHANTS--THE HORSES REACHED--SEARCH FOR THE WOUNDED
ELEPHANT--THE SUCCESSFUL SHOT--AN UNWITTING ESCAPE.

I had received so many accounts from different sources as to the great
dangers that were certainly to be met in the dense bush of the Berea,
and also the part that extended across the Umganie for several miles up
the coast, that I had hesitated attempting so rash a course as entering
it until I had gathered experience from trying cautiously at first what
dangers I was likely to encounter.  "Elephants would catch me; tigers
(ie leopards) becroup (ie stalk) me; snakes bite me," etc.: these and
other horrors would be sure to entail my return on a shutter.  I
frequently rode round and looked for a short distance into different
parts of the bush, gathering confidence each time.

One morning early, a Hottentot man came to tell me that his master had
sent him to ask if I would like to join a party going out after a
leopard that had destroyed several chickens, and had also breakfasted on
a half-grown pig on the said morning.  I was glad of this chance, as I
hoped to see some sport, and immediately shouldering my gun, and
fastening a large clasp-knife in my belt, joined my guide, who led me to
a house on the outskirts of the village of D'Urban, where I found a
party of ten or twelve as rough-looking customers as one could desire to
see: I am sure a leopard would not have had courage even to look at
them.  If beards or dirt made African sportsmen, I thought I must be in
a very hot-bed of them.--I soon saw that the party were more of the
style of _sporting-men_ than _sportsmen_; they were liberally imbibing
brandy and water, which they wanted to force upon me to steady my
nerves; an auxiliary I begged to decline, first, on account of the hour
(10 a.m.), and, secondly, because the shaking hands of many present made
me doubt its steadying qualities.  We started in two divisions, one
taking the trail into the bush where the pig had been made pork, while
the other entered where the leopard generally came out.

The cover was so very dense and thick that we were obliged to crawl on
all fours, great care being necessary to prevent the triggers or cocks
of the gun from getting set and caught: we were all particularly
requested to be silent; but the hairy men _would_ talk.  After creeping
150 yards, we came to some of the bones of the pig, evidently just left
by the leopard: we watched carefully every gloomy part of the
surrounding bush to discover the leopard, but could see nothing.
Suddenly a bird flitted away close to us, and one of the bearded
gentlemen, who had appeared the greatest swaggerer, called for us to
look out, as the leopard was coming.  I immediately heard the
click-click of double-barrelled guns coming to full cock, and saw a
gentleman a few yards to my right pointing his gun straight at me; I
shouted to him to mind what he was about, when he coolly told me he was
only getting ready in case the leopard sprung; his shaking hands,
however, were certainly not pleasant masters of a trigger, the slightest
pressure on which would have sent an ounce of lead through me.

I withdrew as soon as possible, as I was convinced there was no chance
of seeing sport with these cock-tail gentry, who, it is almost needless
to add, saw nothing of the wild animal, and returned soon to their
nerve-steadying specific.  The leopard had been seen retreating by two
Kaffirs, who happened to be passing on the opposite side, immediately we
entered the bush: we could not have been within 300 yards of the
monster, therefore, at any time.

With most South-African sportsmen the elephant is one of the last of the
wild animals which he is fortunate enough to see: it was my first.  The
view was not a long one, still it is well impressed on my memory.

I received a note one morning before breakfast from a true sportsman,
informing me that he knew of a large herd of elephants in the Berea,
and, if I would join him, he hoped that we might get a shot at them.
This proposition, from our ignorance of all the artifices necessary in
the bush, was rather rash, as elephant-shooting is always dangerous
sport, and when attempted by novices on foot in a dense bush against a
very savage herd, it becomes still more so.

Elephants are generally hunted in Africa on horseback.  The Dutchmen,
who frequently obtain their living by this sport only, are amongst the
most accomplished hands; they make periodical trips into the uninhabited
districts, or where elephants are numerous, and the country open or
park-like.  When a herd of elephants is discovered, these Boers make a
plan of attack, either to drive the herd of game to a better and more
open country, or to prevent them from retreating to the dense bushes
near.  As soon as everything suits, they mark out the leader of the
troop, generally the biggest bull-elephant.  They then ride up as near
as they dare, and give him a volley; if he falls, they can manage the
remainder more easily, as, missing their chief, some confusion takes
place.  Should he, however, be only wounded, turn savage, and charge, as
is most frequently the case, they close together, and gallop away for a
hundred yards or so, when, at a given signal, they separate, and ride
round in different directions.  This diversion generally puzzles the
elephant, and, before he has made up his mind what to do, another
broadside is poured into him.  Two or three volleys are generally
sufficient to quiet the big bull.  I have been assured by many old
elephant-hunters that they have frequently seen a herd of elephants
stand with their heads together, after the leader has been killed, as
though in despair, and they would not make a rush: these may be
pleasant, but are undoubtedly rare, chances for the pot-hunter.  Gordon
Cumming's plan of lying in wait for the elephants at their
drinking-place was a bold and successful plan.  I cannot but think him a
very lucky man never to have had a wounded bull charge him then; had one
done so, I fear we should not have had his amusing lectures, or his own
account of his wonderful sport.

Many methods of elephant-hunting may never have come to light, owing to
the enterprising sportsman having been crushed to death by his
infuriated game before he had an opportunity of making public his
experience.

An elephant can run very fast, and moves with surprising ease and
silence.

I remember hearing tales as a boy of the elephant's beginning to turn
early in the morning, and managing to finish his gymnastic performance
by mid-day; the wily hunter, therefore, by keeping behind, him was
always safe.

My own experience is very different from this: I have seen them turn
round and crash away through the forest with nearly the rapidity of a
large buck; and a man's speed stands but a poor chance in comparison
with theirs.  In the thick underwood or reeds a man is continually
impeded, while an elephant walks through everything with the greatest
ease; a horse, however, in open ground gets away from an elephant,
especially when going up hill, the weight of the latter being much
against it on rising ground.

The elephant stands very high in the class of wise animals, and, I
believe, is as fully susceptible of a moral lesson as is a schoolboy.
When a large herd is but seldom disturbed by man, but on each visit five
or six elephants are killed, and two or three more die of their wounds,
the remainder then have a very great dread of the smell of a biped, and
the report of his gun; but when elephants are disturbed very frequently,
and only one shot obtained at them, which wounds and annoys, but may not
kill, they become very savage, and, upon smelling their teasing enemy,
are at once furious and vindictive.  The herds that came into the Natal
bush were of this latter disposition; they were frequently disturbed,
and sometimes fired at, but without any great result, as the density of
the cover rendered it almost impossible to get more than one shot; and a
single bullet rarely carries immediate death.

The bush for many miles up the Natal coast was impenetrable, except by
the paths that the elephants had made; and in which they had stalked to
and from water, and from place to place, in Indian file.  It was
difficult for a man, when moving along these paths, to see many yards on
either side, the underwood, briers, and parasitical plants, being matted
together like a hedge.  In many, parts one has to force himself through
places where he cannot see a yard around him.  Here he must trust to
hearing, and almost to scent, or he will not long be left to enjoy the
excitement of the sport, which, when once indulged in, produces a
bush-fever that leaves as lasting an impression as the similar disease
caught on the prairies of the Far West.  Patience, caution, keen senses,
and experience, are the requisites for this work; and unless a hunter
possesses the whole of these qualities, he will give but a sorry account
of the fun to be had in the bush; the general cry being "that no game is
to be seen there."

I soon joined my friend, who, although a thorough good sportsman, and a
slayer of nearly all the large game of Africa, was still not quite up to
the precautions necessary in thick bush-work, I at the time being
grossly ignorant of everything connected with it.

We cantered over the Natal flat, and entered a small, narrow bush-path,
that led to the top of the Berea.  On the way, my friend told me how he
had become acquainted with the position of the herd we purposed
encountering.

His Kaffirs had discovered the traces on the road to Pietermaritzburg,
which they had crossed during the night.  He himself had examined the
road leading to the flagstaff at the top of the Berea, and found that
they had not passed this; so he knew that they must be between the two
roads mentioned.  He therefore concluded that we should find them about
half-way between the two, and near a large umbrella-looking tree, which
plainly showed itself from all parts of the surrounding country.

Unfortunately, as both our guns were of small calibre, being
fourteen-bore only, I was recommended to put in two tops of powder,
instead of the usual charge of one, and also to use my friend's bullets,
as they had been prepared with one-eighth of tin, to harden the balls,
and prevent them from flattening against a bone.

The Berea in this part was about two miles broad, and was very thick,
with plenty of underwood in most parts.

On reaching the top of the woody hill, we found an open space of some
twenty yards in diameter, where we dismounted, and left our horses,
taking care to fasten them to a tree by the head-stalls, which are
generally allowed to remain on the head, either for the purpose of
fastening up a horse, or for knee-haltering him.  M--(my friend) showed
me the fresh indications of the elephants.  The grass was trodden down
in every direction, and in some places it was torn up, as though a heavy
piece of timber had been dragged along over it.  One or two places,
which were destitute of grass and rather clayey, retained large circular
and oval-shaped impressions, which M--explained to me as belonging,--the
circular to the bull, and the oval to the cow-elephants; the height of
the respective elephant being about six times the diameter of these
impressions.  We measured one footprint, which gave us an answer of
twelve feet, a height quite sufficient to satisfy the fastidious in this
sort of sport.

A strange mysterious feeling came over me in being thus brought for the
first time on the fresh traces of evidently a numerous herd of these
gigantic animals.  I began to ask if it were not great impertinence for
two such pigmies as we now seemed, to attempt an attack upon at least
forty of these giants, who, by a swing of their trunks, or a stamp of
their foot on us, could have terminated our earthly career with as much
ease as we could that of an impertinent fly?  There is also an utter
feeling of loneliness, and self-dependence, in treading the mazes of
these vast forests.  One mile of bush always appeared to remove me
farther from man and his haunts than twenty miles of open country.  One
is inspired with a kind of awe by the gloom and silence that pervade
these regions, the only sounds being the warning-note of some
hermit-bird, or the crack of a distant branch.  The limited view around
also tends to keep every other sense on the alert, and the total absence
of every sign of man, or man's work, appears to draw one nearer to the
spirit-world, and to impress us with a greater sense of the Divine
presence.

Our advance was rather quick, as we did not pay sufficient attention to
the signs and noises as we approached the elephants.  Scarcely thirty
yards had been gone over when I looked round to the spot where our
horses stood; the thickness of the intervening bush, however, prevented
me from seeing them.  Several large branches had been broken off the
trees, the ends eaten, and then cast across the path in different
directions.  Either in play or rage, the elephants had entirely
destroyed two or three trees of a considerable size, that stood near
their path, peeling the bark off in many instances for several feet up
the stems.

We steadily continued our advance, following in the footsteps of the
elephants; the freshly-trodden course of the gigantic animals being
clearly indicated.

I was much surprised at the silence that reigned in the bush.  I
expected that a herd of wild elephants would indicate their presence by
noises audible at a great distance.  M--told me, however, that during
the day they usually remained quiet, especially when they knew that they
were in a suspicious neighbourhood, or where they had lately smelt
traces of man.  This cautious proceeding I have since discovered to be
invariable.

We trudged on steadily for about a mile, creeping under the branches
that crossed our path, and removing others which had apparently been
dropped by the elephants.  We were at length stopped by observing the
branches of a distant tree violently shaken.  We watched them for a
considerable time, and listened, but only heard a queer sort of rumbling
noise for which we could not then account.  This, as I afterwards knew,
was caused by elephants; but seeing a couple of monkeys jumping about in
a distant tree, we thought that it was caused by these little animals,
and therefore proceeded.

About one hundred yards farther the bush became very dense, long
creepers growing all over the shrubs, matting and tying the underwood
together, so as to render it quite impenetrable, except where the
elephants had forced a path.  We moved through these passages quickly,
and of course caused some noise.  I was about two yards behind M--, and
scarcely expected anything could be near, when suddenly the bushes on
our right and close to us were violently shaken, and a deep sort of
growl was uttered, that sounded much like a lion's roar.  M--jumped
forward, and raised his gun to fire; I was going to follow him, but on
looking a little to our left, I saw a huge elephant, about ten yards
distant, striding towards us, with his trunk coiled up and ears erect.
At the same instant M--fired to his right, and springing past me,
shouted, "Run for your fife!"  I did not stop for another look, as I
then heard, almost over me, the terrific shrill trumpet of the animal
which I had seen charging, in addition to the growl of the wounded
elephant and the answering shrieks of several others who were round us.

Our burst for the first hundred yards must have been fine, but we had
nothing to spare, as I looked round soon after starting and saw the big
elephant coming after us as if he really meant mischief, and but a short
distance behind us.

I lost my hat, but we rushed on, diving under some branches, hopping
over others, dodging this way and that, until I was completely blown,
and called for a halt, as, having both barrels loaded, I was anxious for
a shot.  M--, however, would not hear of stopping, but still recommended
that we should clear out of the bush with the greatest quickness, as the
herd had shown themselves so savage.  I bowed to his superior judgment,
knowing that he combined true courage and daring with a sufficient
caution to prevent recklessness for the mere sake of display.  We at
length came to our horses, and I must own I felt more comfortable when
my leg was over my stout game little pony, than I did when on foot
within a yard or so of the elephant's trunk.

We stopped to listen, and heard the shrieks and trumpets of this wild
troop, and the crashing of the bush, which showed that they had not yet
entirely given up the hope of trampling to death their insignificant but
annoying enemy.  I had, as I before stated, dropped my hat during the
first hundred yards' rush, and I did not care at the time to stop to
pick it up.

M--soon told me that he thought we should find his elephant dead if we
returned, as he had killed rhinoceroses, and thought the growl we had
heard was indicative of a death-wound.  As he had aimed behind the
shoulder, he considered such a result probable.

Upon riding clear from the bush, we found on the Natal flat a Hottentot,
who was quietly sitting down mending his only pair of trowsers; he
looked at us very knowingly and said, "_Olephants barnie qui bas_,"
(Elephants very angry, sir).  Upon asking him how he knew this, he told
us, that although he could only just hear the report of the gun, he
could still plainly hear the elephant's trumpet, and he knew from the
tone how savage they must be: this man was at least a mile distant from
the scene of our encounter.  On that evening it was decided that early
on the morrow we should retrace our steps, and follow up the wounded
elephant until we found him, in case he happened not to be dead on the
spot; and also that we were to divide the ivory, as, although I had not
actually fired, I had still aided and abetted in the affair.  While we
were thus quietly counting our chickens, this tough old African giant
was most probably walking away through the forest, with no more idea of
dying than we had; little cared he for a fourteen-to-the-pound bullet!

This was my first introduction to the South-African elephant, and I may
say to South-African game.

On the following morning, the dew had scarcely been dried by the sun
before we entered the bush on our traces of yesterday.  We brought with
us an English settler, an experienced elephant-hunter, two Kaffirs, and
a Hottentot.  We were uncertain about bringing a hatchet for the purpose
of cutting out the teeth, in case the elephant was dead (the tusks, I
should here remark, are commonly called the teeth, while what in England
are called the teeth are really the grinders).  We saved ourselves a
vast amount of ridicule by leaving the hatchet at home.

We had no difficulty in at once recognising the spot on which our
yesterday's scene was acted.  Had we been in doubt, the discovery of my
hat would have settled the question; it had been knocked out of the
path, and its broad brim was smashed considerably.  No doubt the big
elephant, in his charge, had accidentally trodden on it, and kicked it
on one side.

We went to the spot on which M--'s elephant had stood.  I certainly was
disappointed to find that he had not even fallen on receiving the shot.
None but an experienced eye could tell that anything extraordinary had
even taken place here; but both Kaffirs and Hottentot at once saw, by
the traces, all that had happened.  These sharp-sighted savages pointed
to the spot from whence M--had fired, and then to where the elephant had
stood.  They said he had turned round and rushed headlong towards the
smoke of M--'s gun.  He there stopped, and then slowly retreated,
keeping himself away from the remainder of the herd.

We followed his traces, and soon found blood, both on the leases and
branches, as also on the ground, but not in such large quantities as I
should have supposed.  We followed this spoor for some distance; but the
blood soon ceasing, and the wounded elephant's traces being crossed by
other feet, we saw no more of him.

We discovered, however, that, during our advance on the previous day, we
had passed three elephants within fifty yards without being aware of
their vicinity.  The noise which we had heard and the rumbling sounds
were caused by them.  They thought it prudent to remain nearly still;
and their plan was successful, as they were undiscovered by us.

We also saw that three or four elephants, that were feeding close to the
spot from whence we had fired, had chased us for at least two hundred
yards.  Fortunately, one of the sharp turns which we had taken threw
them out in the chase, and very probably saved us from being acquainted
with the weight of their feet.

I must say that this little adventure somewhat cooled my ardour for a
second meeting with these angry brutes.  Interviews, however, frequently
did again happen, as will be seen by the future pages.



CHAPTER FIVE.

NECESSITY OF A GUN--STRANGE FOOTSTEP--A DISAPPOINTMENT--VICINITY OF THE
UMGANIE--DUIKER BUCK--MATUAN THE KAFFIR--VOCAL TELEGRAPH--REITBOK--A
HUMAN POINTER--SINGULAR CONVERSATION--APATHY OF THE RESIDENTS--KAFFIR
MESSENGERS--BUCK SHOOTING--THE BUCK'S TENACITY OF LIFE--A BUCK ON THREE
LEGS--DANGEROUS COUNTRY--A SPORTING RED-COAT--STRANGE SPORTSMEN.

After this attack on and by the elephants, I devoted my time to the
pursuit of the reit-buck (_Eleotragus reduncus_), the ourebi
(_Oreotragus scoparius_), the duiker (_Cephalophorus mergens_), etc.,
all of them found within a few miles of Natal.  As these days' sport
are, with little exception, repetitions of each other, and therefore
possess interest only to the person concerned, I will select one or two
incidents, that stand well out in my memory, as amongst the most
interesting.

It is always advisable, in a country of this description, where the game
wanders and its locality is uncertain, never to be out without a gun.
You may wander for many miles and not see a single head of game in a
country that ought to be teeming with it; but you may stroll out one
hundred yards from your house and meet a noble buck who has come to take
a peep at you.  He, of course, will not accept your invitation to wait
until you go in for your gun.

Scarcely an individual whom I ever met, and who had been long resident
in Natal, did not remark some time or other to me, "Oh! if I had had my
gun the other day, I would have shot so and so."  In time, also, the gun
becomes no more troublesome to carry than a walking-stick.

I can mention many instances with regard to myself, where, not thinking
it at all probable that I should see anything worth shooting, I left my
gun at home.  I have then had some teasing buck jump up in front of me,
and stand looking for half a minute, as if quizzing me, at perhaps forty
yards' distance, and then quietly canter off.  "Oh! if I had my gun," I
moodily exclaimed.  At last, I was rarely seen without it.  "Going out
shooting?" was often asked me from this circumstance.  "No; only for a
walk, or a bathe," I would answer.  "Why have you your weapon, then?"
was generally considered a cutting remark.  Many a small pair of pointed
horns, and many skins, would have answered the "why."  I generally came
across something without looking for it.

The greatest annoyance that I met with from not having a gun was when
riding one day, with an officer of the commissariat, on the beach
between the Umganie and Natal Bay.  I remarked some curious footprints
on the sand, and dismounted to see what they were.  I could not identify
them, although I was well acquainted with most South-African trails.  My
friend called my attention to their impressions all along the sand, and
far on ahead.  As we looked in advance, we saw a large black object
moving nearly half a mile before us.  We started off immediately in
chase, and soon neared it.  I then saw that it was covered with long
fur, had short legs in front, and a kind of finny organ behind.  It
appeared about ten feet long.  Immediately it heard us galloping, it
made for the water.  We were going so fast that we could not pull up,
and went past between the animal and the sea; so that before we could
return it had gained the water, and, taking a look at us, dived and
disappeared.  Had I had my gun with me, I could have stalked to a spot
within thirty yards of it, by means of the sand-hills near the beach,
and a couple of bullets would no doubt have made us better acquainted.
I described this animal to several people, but none had seen a creature
like it.  The Kaffirs had seen the spoor before, but had no name by
which to designate it.

[I have since seen descriptions and paintings of a sea-lion that
frequents some islands to the north-west of the Cape, and am inclined to
think that this creature was a traveller of that species.]

The country across the Umganie river was thickly-wooded, but inland it
was either open, or of that park-like description so common in many
parts of Africa.  About eight miles across this river an English settler
lived, who had frequently asked me to put up at his house in case I went
for a day's shooting in his neighbourhood.  I usually preferred availing
myself of some Kaffir's kraal; as the wild uncivilised native I found
more agreeable company than the general class of English or Dutch
emigrants: the naked savage was frequently the more gentlemanly fellow
of the two.  In the present instance, however, my host was an exception;
he was an unassuming, hard-working man, and I accepted his proffered
offer of a shake-down, with thanks.

I sent on one of my Kaffirs with my shooting-pony the previous day, and
at daybreak, on a lovely morning in October, started from my tent for a
day's sport in this district.  I had scarcely ridden half a mile from
our encampment on the Natal flat, when I noticed a small animal jumping
over some hushes that bordered the road about 150 yards in front.  Upon
reaching the road, it stopped, and looked at me, and I then saw that it
was a duiker.  I had placed a bullet in each barrel, and immediately
took a shot at the buck.  I saw that the animal stumbled as I fired, but
it cantered on to a thick patch of bush on my right.  I wanted to salute
it with the second barrel on its coming out, but, after waiting half a
minute or so without seeing it, I dismounted, and crept up to the bush.
On peeping in, I saw the duiker, lying on his side.  I made ready for a
shot, and gave a loud whistle, but it did not move.  Upon crawling into
the bush, I found that the buck was quite dead, the bullet having gone
through its ribs.  I was not certain I had hit it at first, although,
when I fired, I fancied I heard the "thud" of the bullet.  I applied the
knife, and carried the buck to the thick bush close by, where, selecting
a forked tree in a shady dell, the venison was hung up.  From
information that I sent my Kaffirs, they called for it before sunset
that evening.  They were too late: the intense heat, although the
venison hung in the shade, had placed the meat beyond even an epicure's
idea of what game should be.

I pursued my journey, and arrived soon after 8 a.m. at my host's.  I
took some coffee and bread, the latter made from Indian corn, and soon
after, mounting my shooting-pony, I started for a kraal that had been
pointed out to me as the residence of an old Kaffir who was well
acquainted with the hiding-places of the bucks that frequented this
locality.  I soon saw him, and found he was a man of about forty.  It
is, however, very difficult to judge of a Kaffir's age; but he was
rather grey, nearly six feet in height, very muscular, and without an
ounce of superfluous fat.  He was ready for sport at once, and
recommended me to leave my pony to graze near his kraal, as the place
where some reitboks were usually found, was so hilly and broken that he
did not think a horse would be of much use.  On our road to the ground
which he had chosen as the most likely for game, he asked all sorts of
questions about me, and volunteered much information about himself.  He
had committed that common sin amongst savages, of having too many
cattle, which had raised the envy of his chief, who consequently accused
him of witchcraft, and would have soon murdered him, had not the accused
party made a bolt, and placed himself some sixty miles within the
British boundary, but a beggar by comparison with his former condition.
He seemed, however, contented, and had now a few cattle and goats.

This part of the country was plentifully watered, and the numerous
ravines and marshy spots allowed the long reeds to escape the fires that
perform the part of mowers once or twice a year.  In the heat of the day
the antelopes choose these cool retreats for shelter.  The old Kaffir,
who rejoiced in the name of Matuan, led me to the top of a
slightly-wooded hill, and, pointing to an opposite ridge, nearly a mile
distant, he said, "_Nanqueer_."

[The Kaffir words that I have used throughout this work I believe are
incorrect in their orthography.  For the uninitiated, however, I thought
it better to spell them as they sounded, as by adopting this plan, a
more complete idea can be obtained of the sound of the Kaffir language.]

I looked in the direction indicated, and there saw a few goats feeding,
and could plainly see a little Kaffir boy sitting beside them: the
transparency of the air in these latitudes almost does away with the
effect of distance.  "_May-na-bo_!" then sang Matuan, resting very long
on the _may_, in a singing sort of way; and, without any apparent
exertion, a kind of shout from, the boy came thrilling through the air,
like the voice of a distant bird.  "_Ou vel arpe umseke_?" sung Matuan.
"_Empeshear kona_," thrilled the boy.  Matuan, giving a grunt of
approval, moved on.  This I must translate to make intelligible:--the
_maynabo_ was to call the attention of the boy, a kind of "Holloa!"  _Ou
vel arpe umseke_? meaning, Where are the reitboks gone?  _Empeshear_,
indicating that they were over on the other side.

I have been frequently astonished at hearing the ease with which two
Kaffirs will carry on a conversation when separated by distances that
would be considered by us as entirely to interrupt verbal communication.
This conversation is accomplished by the tone and modulations of the
voice, as also the distinct divisions in the Kaffirs' language.

We walked on for nearly two miles under a burning sun.  The heat was
intense, and my gun-barrels became so hot that it was with difficulty I
could hold the gun.  The annoyance from numerous flies and insects,
whose bite was severe, added to the natural irritation that one
sometimes feels on a hot day.  Matuan soon showed me a long ravine, full
of rushes and reeds, that looked a most likely place for a buck.  We sat
down beside a little rippling stream, while we refreshed ourselves with
a draught of its pure water, and invigorated our spirits with a pinch of
powerful snuff, without which no Kaffir is entirely happy.  While we
allowed time for these stimulants to produce their full effect, Matuan
detailed to me his plan of operations.  He said that he would go on the
left of the ravine, and, keeping a little in advance of me, would shout
and beat the reeds.  This proceeding would probably cause the bucks, if
there, to come out on the right-hand side, and run towards his kraal: he
therefore recommended me to keep on the right side, and look out for my
shot.

We started in the manner that he proposed, and had scarcely gone
half-way up the ravine, when a doe reitbok sprang out of the cover, and
cantered across in front of me at about eighty yards' distance.  I fired
at her shoulder, and heard the bullet strike; she staggered and nearly
fell, recovered again, reeled a few yards, and came to the ground to
rise no more.  Matuan shouted to me to look out for the ram; we waited a
few seconds, when, not seeing him, I explained to the Kaffir that I
should like to load.  I had just placed the bullet on the powder, when
the ram burst out of the reeds, and bounding away a few yards, stopped
and looked full at me.  I did not wait to cap the barrel that I had
loaded, but aimed with my second.  Just as I brought the gun to my
shoulder, he gave a sharp clear sort of whistle to call his partner, and
dashed off.  I let fly at him as he went, and saw a hind-leg dangling
useless and broken.  Matuan rushed through the reeds, and was after him
like a hound.  I followed as quickly as I could, but, being encumbered
with gun, bullets, etc., was, after a few minutes, "nowhere."  I got
occasional glimpses of Matuan, who kept to the ridges of the hills, and
had evidently the game continually in sight.  I made several short cuts,
and was only about two hundred yards behind the Kaffir, when he suddenly
dropped as though he were shot, and thus slipping down the hill,
commenced beckoning me furiously.  When I reached him, he told me that
the reitbok had just lain down in some long grass over the hill, "so
far," he said, pointing to a tree near.

I waited till I recovered my breath again, and having now both barrels
loaded, I took off my hat, and, telling Matuan to keep quiet, crept up
in the direction that he had indicated.  Upon reaching the top of the
hill, I slowly rose, and saw the wounded antelope standing on his three
legs, looking straight at me.  I aimed at the chest and fired; the buck
reared straight up and fell over backwards.  I knew there was not an
ounce of life left in him, so I walked back to Matuan for my hat.  The
perspiration was pouring out of every pore of his swarthy hide and
trickling over his face, as much from excitement as heat; and when he
saw me thus quietly returning to him, a look of despair came over his
face, and he said, "_Yena mukile_" (He has gone away).  I merely said,
"_Hamba si hamba_" (Let's be going), and walked to where the buck lay,
completely concealed by the length of the grass around him.  Matuan soon
saw the reitbok, and jumping in the air with delight, shouted "_Wena
shiele_!"  (You have killed him!)  He then sat down beside the reitbok
for full a minute, gazing with delight on the anticipated steaks and
chops that he hoped would soon pass from outside the ribs of this animal
to the inside of his own.  He pushed his fingers into the two
bullet-holes, and then waved his arm in indication of the dead doe
behind us; then held up his three fingers, pointing two at the wounds in
the buck before us, and waving one in the direction of the other animal
shot, as much as to say "Three shots, all hit."  Then, as though he had
satisfactorily decided an important question, he placed his hand
horizontally across his mouth, looked steadily at me for half a minute,
and said, "_e-ar-nesa, wena inkosi_" (In truth, you are a chief).  Poor
Matuan! he had not enjoyed such a feast of meat for many months as I
gave him on that and the following night.

We were obliged to get aid from a neighbouring Kaffir's kraal to convey
the meat home, each buck being more than we could comfortably carry.  I
gave part of the venison to Matuan, and retained the remainder for the
benefit of my host.

A curious incident here happened, which struck me at the time as very
ridiculous.

A French emigrant was stopping at this house with my host, and being
unable to speak a word of English, he had great difficulty in making his
wants known.  It happened that on leaving England I was a tolerable
French scholar, and could manage to converse; but a year of disuse, and
also the study of the Hottentot-Dutch and Zulu-Kaffir languages, had
driven all my French away, and upon being thus suddenly called upon, I
could scarce think of a word.  This Frenchman had fortunately studied
the Zulu language, by books during his voyage out, and by practice since
his residence in Africa: we therefore carried on an interesting
conversation in this language.  It seemed curious that two white men,
whose native countries so nearly joined, should be thus compelled to
communicate in a tongue so little known in the native land of either;
the Kaffirs themselves thought we were doing it merely for their
amusement, and sat grinning first at us and then at one another.

On the following day I shot a reitbok, a duiker, and three corans.

Several days of good sport were yielded me in this neighbourhood.  I
found, however, that the bush close to Natal was teeming with buck, and
a buffalo was sometimes seen there.  Several unsuccessful journeys after
the former taught me that more skill was required in shooting them than
I at that time possessed.  By patience, perseverance, and the
instruction obtained from the Kaffirs, I at length acquired the art of
moving with silence and watchfulness through the mazes of the forest,
and was then rewarded by first-rate sport, and found this amusement one
of the most fascinating in this country.

I have known many men who were good shots and able sportsmen, fail
completely in the bush, from a deficiency in the qualities of patience
and caution; several of whom have gone day after day, and returned, not
only empty-handed, but without having seen a single head of game.  Yet
two or three Kaffirs or Hottentots that I could name would make certain
of bagging a fine fat buck each day they devoted to the purpose, and
over the very same ground that had been drawn a blank by the other
sportsmen.  It may be concluded, therefore, that some skill and
experience is requisite in the bush-hunter of Africa.  So plentiful was
the game in the Natal district during my residence there in 1847, 1848,
and 1849, that even around Pietermaritzburg, within a mile of the
houses, I have shot bucks;--while partridges, pheasants, quail, and
snipe were also common.  But the use of the bullet against the larger
animals is so fascinating a mode of sport, that it prevents the
South-African sportsman from attending much to the feathered game, which
are merely popped at for the purpose of putting them beside bread sauce
and Cayenne pepper.  Two or three strings of reh-boks were to be met
with round the Pietermaritzburg hills, while reitbok and ourebis seemed
to come in daily from the surrounding country for the sole purpose of
supplying the gaps caused by the death of others of their species.
There was a tolerable monopoly in the shooting line here that was
curious.  While the English traders, etc., still translated the national
motto of "_Honi soit qui mal y pense_," as "Slave away for money as long
as you live," the Dutchman merely saved his powder for a trip into the
interior, and the gentlemen who had nothing to do for their living
seemed to do nothing for their pleasure.  The consequence was, that not
half a dozen men were ever seen to go out shooting at all regularly.
This may appear strange, when we consider the quantity and quality of
the game; but, perhaps, the luxury of the climate relaxes the energies
of those who may be long resident, and their greatest happiness,
consequently, is repose; they thus wisely avoid many troubles and
annoyances that more mercurial or enterprising temperaments may meet.
Upon proceeding to Pietermaritzburg, I found that I had a pleasant
little manor, extending for about fifteen miles in every direction,
plentifully supplied with reitbok, ourebis, duikers, reh-bok, bustard,
pheasant, partridge, guinea-fowl, and sometimes a wild-boar and a stray
hyaena or leopard.  I adopted an original plan for my day's sport.
Sending for one of my Kaffirs, I would give him a pound of beef and some
snuff, and tell him to go on to the top of a hill which I would point
out to him, and request that he kept me in sight all day.  This hill
would be some seven or eight miles distant.  I would then send for
another Kaffir and give him similar directions, pointing to a second
hill, perhaps four miles from the first.

These Kaffirs, who worked for _five shillings a month, and nearly found
themselves_, were capital fellows, and obeyed orders without a murmur.
Sometimes, at Natal, I would call a Kaffir, and say, "So-and-So, tabata
s'incwade, musi inglovu," (this would be broken Kaffir for "Take this
letter to Pietermaritzburg, wait for an answer, and come back")--_only
fifty-three miles_!  In about ten minutes this Kaffir would be seen
going off with a little skin-bag filled with corn, the letter carefully
inserted in a split stick, whilst he occasionally worked his arms about
in all the pleasant imaginary castle-building of knocking over enemies
or wild beasts.  In three days he would come back, with the single
remark, "_Fikile_" (arrived), and deliver the answer to the note.

After starting the Kaffirs to their lookout stations, I could
comfortably take my breakfast, do any business that was required, and
then mount my horse and canter out to the ground that might have been
selected for that particular day's sport.  Then riding through the long
grass, and beating up the ravines, the antelope would soon be bounding
away in all directions.  Now came the sport.  The grass being nearly
five feet long, it was necessary to fire from the saddle, and it was
very pretty to see the shooting-pony, with an instinct almost equal to
reason, following the dog in every turn, and doing so without a touch of
the reins, standing also like a rock when a buck sprang up.  Away the
antelope would rush, making (if an ourebi) perpendicular leaps of at
least two yards in the air, and then scouring over the plain.  But a
quick messenger would soon be after him, and the sound of the bullet
striking would be frequently the only indication of a successful aim.
The buck might drop-dead if struck in the neck, the shoulder, or the
kidneys; if in other parts, he frequently galloped off with a doubled-up
and cramped action.  The hitherto quiet dog would then come out in a new
character, and give chase to the buck, while the pony would have to do
his best to live with the two.  A mile or so would decide the thing.
Upon the buck being vanquished, no trouble was then taken in cleaning
him; the pony is off-saddled,--immediately takes a roll, and commences
grazing, while dog and man look out for the nearest stream of water to
obtain a drink and to cool themselves from the effects of the burning
sun.

In about half an hour one of my Kaffirs would be seen jogging over a
hill, and making his way straight down to the dead antelope.  He cleans
it, and, if it is too heavy for him to carry alone, seeks for aid in the
nearest kraal, distant sometimes three or four miles; by signalling, he
saves himself great part of the journey.  The half of the buck would be
an ample reward for the service of an additional man; and the venison is
thus sent home, while the pony is saddled, and the sport again proceeded
with.

During the first fortnight that I was engaged at this sport I shot only
three bucks, although out eight times, and having several fair shots
each day.  I thought that I was bewitched, and had suddenly an attack of
the crooked eye; but, upon mentioning in confidence to a friend, Major
K--(as perfect a gentleman and gallant a sportsman as ever trod on
African soil), what had happened, he told me that very probably I had
wounded many more of these animals, but that they had dropped when out
of sight.  He proposed going out with me one day, an offer that I was
delighted to accept;--and I may here mention that many of my earliest
and best instructions were received from him.  When riding a few hundred
yards from Major K--, I fired at a fine ram reitbok, that got up about
fifty yards in advance.  I thought I saw a little lurch in his action as
the bullet went by; but, not observing any other sign, I remained for an
instant quite still.  Major K--then called out, "After him," with which
direction I complied, and followed in the buck's wake for fully half a
mile.  He seemed to be going quite comfortably, and I began to think
there was no use in thus pursuing, when he stopped and looked at me.  I
jumped off my horse, and was quickly on the ground; but the buck was
down first.  I ran up to him, and found that my bullet had entered the
back without touching the bone or principal muscles, had passed through
his body, and come out in the breast; he was bleeding at the mouth, and
lay quite dead.  Major K--, on coming up, told me that this apparent
toughness as regarded life was, during his experience, by no means an
uncommon thing.  The secret of the crooked eye was now explained, and I
afterwards made a practice of watching for a considerable time bucks
that I had fired at, unless I was perfectly certain that I had missed
them.  So tough were some of these reitbok, that a gentleman once told
me that he thought, after the first bullet, all others seemed to do them
good.  It was not quite as bad as this, although the following instance
that happened to myself may give an idea of their tenacity of life.

I sighted a buck, and saw him lie down in some long grass.  Leaving my
pony at some distance, I stalked up to the buck; he rose, and afforded
me a fair shot at twenty yards.  I gave him a dose of buckshot near the
shoulder, which knocked him over.  He jumped up again instantly, and
went away on three legs.  Not having my dog with me, I ran back to my
pony, and mounting him, galloped to the hill over which the buck had
disappeared.  I looked all round, but could discover no signs whatever
of the reitbok.  I held up my hand, in order to find which way the
little wind that there was happened to be blowing, and, riding with my
head to the wind, went nearly a mile without seeing a sign of the buck.
I was about making a fresh cast, when I noticed a few reeds on ahead; I
went towards them, and, upon getting within one hundred yards, saw my
wounded buck jump up and gallop off.  With his three legs he could beat
my pony's four.  So I pulled up, and tried a long shot at him.  He got
it in the stern, stumbled, recovered, and held on.  I loaded, and kept
him in sight, thinking he would certainly drop.  But no such luck; he
staggered along, and was getting away from me, when I saw that he was
going down a steep hill at a pace as though he had his legs sound.  At
the bottom of this hill there was a large watercourse, about twenty feet
wide and ten deep.  He could not stop himself when he saw this in front,
owing to having but one front leg sound, but tried to leap it.  This he
failed in doing by a long way, and dropped with a crash to the bottom of
the ravine.  My pony had been much interested in the chase, and was
nearly following suit by rushing into this watercourse.  As I was going
at speed down the hill, and had my gun in my right hand, I could with
difficulty pull him up with my left.  I jumped off, and ran to the edge
of the ravine, where I saw the reitbok trying vainly to leap up the
steep bank.  I gave him a third shot, which dropped him dead.  It was
astonishing to see with what wounds he had held on; the dose of buckshot
had made his shoulder look as though it suffered from a severe attack of
smallpox; and the second bullet had gone half through him,--a raking
shot.  Some Kaffirs who were passing soon after conveyed him home for
me; and he proved to be, by scale, one of the heaviest bucks that had
been shot near Pietermaritzburg for some time.  Upon telling this to a
facetious friend who came to look at the trophy, he said that it was no
wonder, considering the quantity of lead that was in him.

I had several very pretty courses after wounded buck around the country
near this village, or town as the Natalians would like it called.  On
one occasion, by keeping the hills, I saw my dog follow and pull down
very neatly a wounded reh-bok.  This dog would occasionally point, but,
having a good dash of the foxhound in him, he made a useful
servant-of-all-work.

If I shot a large reitbok, and could not obtain assistance from Kaffirs
to convey him home, or found him too heavy to lift on to my pony, I used
to take the two haunches, and pass the girths through a slit cut between
the back sinews of each leg and the bone, and thus mount them astride
behind the saddle, leaving the remainder of the venison either to be
sent for afterwards, or as an offering to the jackals, etc.

I was walking one day about the kloofs near this town, when I heard a
noise like running water; I listened attentively, and was convinced I
heard its ripple, although the ground was apparently unbroken.
Approaching carefully through the grass, I came suddenly to the mouth of
a naturally-formed pit about forty feet deep, with a stream running
through it at the bottom; the aperture was only about eight feet wide,
and quite concealed by long grass; but below, it opened out
considerably.  This was a nice sort of place to fall into when galloping
after a buck, or making a short cut at night.  There is no one here to
stick up a post with "dangerous" on it, or to hang a lantern near a hole
of this description at night.  In twelve hours, were any accident to
happen, one's very bones would be picked and ground to powder by the
hyaenas, vultures, jackals, etc.  There are many of these holes in
Africa, although some are not quite so bad as the one I have described;
they are still quite dangerous enough, and serve in a gallop to keep up
the excitement, as well as an "in and out" or a "stiff rail," in an
English fox-hunt.

I witnessed a most amusing scene on the hills, about eight miles from
Pietermaritzburg.

As I was sitting down one day to allow my horse his rest and feed, I
noticed a red-coated gentleman riding along in the valley below, and
soon saw that he was a non-commissioned officer of the regiment
quartered at the time at Natal; he had a gun, and was evidently out
taking his pleasure, on leave for a day's sport.  He drew all the kloofs
and grass that I had tested half an hour before, unconsciously passing
over my plainly written horse's footmarks, with a laudable perseverance
that deserved success.  Presently an eagle or large hawk flew past, and
settled some distance on ahead; red-coat followed, and, when near the
spot, tried to keep his horse steady; it did not seem to quite
understand the matter, and decidedly refused to stand still.  A little
of the bullying usually practised by unskilled riders then commenced; he
spurred the animal, and then chucked it in the mouth with the sharp
curb; strange to say, this proceeding failed in making the stupid
_equus_ more quiet.  At last the man dismounted, and, carefully drawing
the reins over its head, and taking the saddle off, he looked at his
steed in a kind of suspicious way, but left it standing, and proceeded
to stalk the eagle.  He got up pretty close, when the bird flew away; he
took aim, and--bang, bang!--produced not even the effect of ruffling a
feather.  Loading his gun, this unsuccessful marksman now returned to
the horse, which, giving a shake of its head, turned round and walked
quietly away.  I heard shouts of "Wo! wo!" sent after the horse, with a
heavy charge of strong language to propel them; still the animal did not
seem to understand; the soldier's walk became a run, and so the horse
galloped, and won the race easily, kicking up its heels in the excess of
its joy.  This was more than the warrior's temper could stand; he had
missed the bird, but he thought he could manage the horse.  Hot and
enraged, he pulled up, and let fly both barrels at his charger.  He
seemed to have made a better shot this time, as the horse gave a jump,
and started at speed towards home, while the soldier had the
satisfaction of carrying his saddle for about eight miles under a
burning sun, on a day when the thermometer would have shown 95 degrees
in the shade.  I would have given anything to have heard how this Nimrod
described his day's sport to his comrades on his return home.  Another
somewhat similar case occurred about this time, with the exception that
the gentleman _killed_ his horse, instead of merely driving him home;
and the strangest fact was, that this representative of his stud was
nearly the only animal that he did kill with a gun during his residence
in Africa.

After an emigrant ship arrived, strange sportsmen sometimes were seen
about the Natal bush, armed with an old gun, and clothed in cast-off
garments that smacked more of Whitechapel than of African build; they
would prowl about the roads in lots of two or three, shooting from their
one gun by turns, at the small birds that had hitherto been left in
peace.  I once saw a couple of men watching in intense excitement for a
shot at some poor monkeys, and utterly unconscious that half a dozen
wild elephants were smashing the bush in rage, from a wound given to one
of the herd by my bullet, not a couple of hundred yards from them.



CHAPTER SIX.

ELAND-HUNTING--BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY--TELESCOPIC EYES--LOADING AT A GALLOP--
THE DUTCH BOERS--SPEED OF THE ELAND--ELAND-HUNT--UNSUCCESSFUL RESULT--
SIGNALS OF DISTRESS--AFRICAN NIMRODS--A HERD OF ELANDS--BETTER LUCK THIS
TIME--AN ACCIDENT--THE SLOUGH OF DESPOND--A "STICKS BULLET"--IN AT THE
DEATH--A BIVOUAC--AIR-PILLOWS.

At the cold season of the year the Dutchmen are in the habit of making
excursions into the uninhabited plains in search of the large herds of
elands and hartebeest that are there found.  These excursions are made
for the purpose of obtaining a supply of meat, which is dried and
salted: the Boers thereby save their cattle from the knife.

The plains under the Draakensberg Mountains, and near the sources of the
Mooi river, were very frequent hunting-grounds of the Boers who lived
near the Bushman's river.  Some of these farmers I had met on former
occasions, and in consequence received an invitation to join their
party, which consisted of Kemp, Pretorius, and five others: we had three
waggons amongst us, and nearly two dozen horses: many Kaffirs and
Hottentots also accompanied us.  The country in which we purposed to
hunt was covered with a most beautiful undulating turf.

Late in the autumn of the year the grass, which grows to a great length,
is set on fire either by the Boers or by the Bushmen; tribes of the
latter living near, in the Draakensberg Mountains.  The ashes of the
consumed grass make a good manure, and, after a shower of rain, the
young tender grass springs up, and causes the whole plain to look glassy
and brilliant, much like a vast green velvet carpet.  The antelopes
scent the fragrance from afar, and come many miles to graze; they then
fall easy victims to the unerring aim of the Bushman's arrow or the
Dutchman's rifle.

The air in this neighbourhood was particularly balmy and pure, cooled by
its transit over the high peaks of the Draakensberg, that already bore
traces of snow in many parts; little cascades could be seen glistening
like silver wire in the different kloofs or ravines that were formed by
the spurs of the mountains.  These ravines were well wooded; many fine
trees grew in them, the underwood being thick and matted, as is usually
the case in Africa, affording a secure retreat to some angry old
bull-buffalo, an exile from his family.  It is well to have one's
weapons and nerves in order, if this old hermit is to be bearded in his
den.

Here also bush-buck, and very many of the feathered tribe are found, the
latter having brilliancy of plumage in place of the gift of song.  A
most useful thing to have in this country is a field-telescope, as it
enables one to obtain a good view of all the distant details, and
thereby frequently saves one a journey after imaginary animals.

The Boers, however, made out everything wonderfully well with the naked
eye; they had rules that experience had taught them; and these rules
almost supplied the place of the "far-seer," as they call the telescope.

"What is there?" one of the Boers would exclaim, pointing to an object
about four miles distant, and on a slight elevation.  Before I had
obtained the correct focus of my glass, the object would by them be
decided as a hartebeest, without two opinions about it.  If I looked
through my glass, I always found that their decision was correct.  Upon
asking how they could know an animal at such a distance, they answered
by giving me a great deal of valuable information, amongst which I
remembered the following as the most useful:--Elands always look light
fawn-coloured when they turn, whereas hartebeest look red, buffaloes
black; these three animals being the most commonly met with in these
plains.  The wild-boar (the "vleck vark" of the Dutch) is told by its
dark colour, and because it is not so large about the head and shoulders
as a buffalo; besides, four or five are generally found together.  When
the sportsman becomes acquainted with the habits of the animals, the
positions which they occupy, as also their way of moving, will generally
show to what class the game belongs.

All the antelopes on the flats start off, when alarmed, with their heads
to the wind; they like to know what is in front of them, and, having
good noses, they can discover danger better by this course.

When a herd of animals are seen on a large flat, the hunter should not
ride at them immediately; he should first obtain a weatherly position,
which will insure him a good start when the animals begin to move.
Before alarming a herd, an after-rider should be sent away to the
distance, and directed to approach the game so as to drive them towards
the hunter.  When a herd start off, the hunter can gradually approach
them, taking care, however, that he does not ride in front, as they will
then turn in a different direction.  When he is within shot, he can jump
off his horse, fire, and remount, loading as he rides, and taking care
not to follow in the rear of the retreating herd, but to move off to the
right or left, and then gallop forward: by this means the distance lost
is sooner regained, as the animals do not then go on so rapidly.  It is
better to keep a herd on the right hand; the hunter, after dismounting,
is then behind his horse, and the game consequently are not so much
alarmed.

The best plan for loading at a gallop is to place the butt of the gun
between the left knee and the saddle; the ramrod side being nearest the
body, the left hand (in which also the reins must be held) should hold
the gun at about six inches from the muzzle; the right hand is thus
free, and therefore can be used for loading.

The pockets of the waistcoat that are used for ammunition should be all
on the right-hand side, and lined with leather.  A couple of bullets are
recommended by some sportsmen to be carried in the mouth, as they can
then be readily used, and do not require wadding, if fired immediately
they drop upon the powder.  This plan I never tried, as I did not like
the risk of having a couple of such pills suddenly jerked down my
throat, after a flight, spread-eagle fashion, half a dozen yards over
one's horse's head.  There are so many blind-holes, and other reasons
for horses suddenly coming down, and turning completely over with their
riders, that the Dutch ride with very long stirrup-leathers, and put
just the end of their toes in the stirrups, so as to be ready for such a
contingency.

We had proceeded nearly three hours without a rest, and, as it was not
usual to travel beyond that time, a halt was called; the horses were
off-saddled, knee-haltered, and allowed to take their much-enjoyed roll,
and to pick up a mouthful of grass; the oxen were unyoked, and turned
out to graze; some dried wood was collected from a neighbouring kloof,
some fires lighted, coffee ready, and pipes in full glory in a very few
minutes.  Most of these Dutchmen were well-to-do farmers, fat, jolly
fellows, with apparently no care, enjoying everything they possessed,
and wanting nothing more; they were good riders, excellent shots, and
very handy men in the field.  In education and refinement they were
certainly limited; they were more _au fait_ at spooring an elephant and
skinning an eland than in solving an equation or making a polite speech;
but for good-hearted, dirty, free-and-easy fellows, their equals were
rarely to be met with.  If a man desires to see the wild parts of a
country and its sports, he cannot always have the refinements or the
luxuries of civilised life at hand.

Upon continuing our journey, the Dutchmen each made one of their
thinnest specimens of humanity, in the shape of a young Hottentot, mount
a spare horse, and follow with a rifle.  These skinny fellows were
useful during a long run to provide a remount, or to turn any herd of
game that was not taking a convenient direction.  We were now in the
game country, and had therefore to keep a good lookout all round.

The elands are well-known in England, several fine specimens being in
the Regent's Park Zoological Gardens.  No idea of their activity can be
formed from their appearance in that confined space.  Give them a good
run, and they would nearly leap over the palings that there surround
them.  Their usual pace when alarmed, is a long trot, at which they can
go sixteen or seventeen miles in an hour.  It is easy to ride up to them
on a level and unbroken plain; but when a steep hilly country with large
loose bits of rock, or heavy ground, happens to be the hunting fine, it
is a far different matter; they rush down the steep hills like an
avalanche, making prodigious leaps to clear the large stones in their
course.  On rising ground the horseman has the advantage over them, but
not enough to enable him to regain what he loses during the descent.

We were all riding along a little ridge which gradually sloped into the
plains to our right, and dipped precipitously into a valley on our left;
when a cry of "Look, look! eland's bull!" brought us all to a stand.  In
the plain to our right a large animal was seen pounding away, kicking up
the dust in clouds as he went.  If he continued his present course, I
saw that he would pass over the ridge on which we then were, and at
about half a mile in front of us.  Taking a look at my gun, therefore,
to see that all was right, I let drop the spurs into my pony and
galloped forward.  One of the Dutchmen then called to me to stop, and,
fearing I might be infringing some rule, I pulled up, but soon found
that the Boers had been obliged to wait until their after-riders could
bring up their guns; and it was to obtain _a fair start_ that they had
detained me.

In consequence of this delay we were all fully two hundred yards distant
when the eland crossed the ridge and dashed down the steep slope on our
left.  He showed such a splendid pair of horns as he passed, that the
Boers compared them to a koodoo's.  We were all obliged to dismount and
lead our horses down the hill, although the antelope had rushed down
like a cricket-ball.

A party of nine Boers were now mounted, and started off in chase.  There
was a great deal of lee-way to be pulled up, and the country was also
very much against us; the hill-sides were covered with large loose
stones, and the valleys in many places were so soft and boggy that the
horses sank knee-deep in the mud.  As I was descending one of the
slopes, I thought I could see the eland inclining a little to the right:
instead, therefore, of going with the remaining Boers down the hill, I
kept along the ridge, thereby saving several hills, and a long course,
if the game held on to his new line of country.  The long grass and
loose stones were unfavourable for galloping, so I nursed my horse for a
turn of speed over the flat that I could see in advance.

I had lost sight of the eland for some time and began to fear that I had
been thrown out of the run altogether; but by still pursuing my line, I
knew I should meet some of the party.  After cantering about three miles
farther, I had the pleasure of viewing the game "rising" an opposite
hill not a quarter of a mile from me.

The long stream of white foam blowing from his mouth, and the blue
appearance that his coat had assumed, both indicated distress.  My nag
was unfortunately in fat condition, and had by this time begun "to ask
for his mamma:" giving him a squeeze, I managed to hustle him along
until I had reduced my distance from the eland to about eighty yards,
when, jumping off, I fired.  The previous gallop and excitement caused
my hand to shake, and I heard the harmless whistle of the bullet as it
sped on its course.  The eland made a leap and changed his direction,
giving me a broadside-shot; I dropped on my knee, and sent the second
bullet into his shoulder; he stumbled as the shot struck him, but still
held gallantly on.  Again mounting, and loading as I cantered, I kept in
his wake, hoping to see him soon fall, as he was bleeding freely; but he
seemed to be rather invigorated by the loss of blood.

One of the Boers, who had changed to his second horse, now passed me,
and firing, placed a second bullet in the eland's shoulder.  The eland
still trotted rapidly away, and both my horse and the Boer's being
completely blown, we could go no farther.  We could see the wounded
animal pass over a hill in our front, and apparently go directly down on
the other side; we managed to lead our horses to the top where he had
passed, and took a minute survey of the surrounding plains, but could
discover no signs of our lost antelope, as the country was so much
broken by clumps of trees and undulations.

The other Dutchmen soon joined us, and blessed the eland in choice
language for escaping and being such a hard runner.  We all spread out
along the ridges, to get if possible a view, as also to search for
spoor; but the hard state of the ground prevented our doing anything by
the latter means.

Evening closing in, we were forced to give up, and thus one of the
finest specimens of horns that I ever saw on an eland's head was lost.
The animal must have miserably perished in some ravine, and found an
ignoble tomb in the maws of hyaenas and wolves, instead of assisting at
the festivities of our _al fresco_ repast, or adding strength to the
sinews of some worthy Dutch Boer, his "vrow" or "kinders."

We did not reach the outspanned waggons until long after dark, and were
directed to them by the firing kept up at intervals by the Hottentots at
the waggons.

There is an established custom in Africa, that when any one is absent
from the nightly gathering, a man is sent on to the nearest rise, when,
putting the muzzle of his gun close to the ground, he fires the two
barrels in quick succession: this is repeated at short intervals, and on
a still night the report is heard many miles off.  Should any one be
lost, or in distress, at any time, the same signal from him serves to
indicate it.  I asked all the Dutchmen into my tent, and we had our beef
and bread brought in hot-and-hot, with a steaming basin of tea from the
bivouac-fire.  I had with me a plentiful supply of brandy and gin, which
I distributed to my guests with a free hand.  They talked a great deal,
the run we had had being the principal topic; they were generous enough
to say that they thought I should have killed the eland at once, had I
been allowed to go off after him.

I was much, amused to discover by their conversation in what poor
estimation they held English sportsmen generally.  Many of my gallant
friends (oracles in their sporting world) would be struck dumb with
horror if they knew with what contempt their performances would be
looked upon, were they to show them amongst an African field.  Perhaps I
may clear up this apparent mystery if I relate what are considered the
essentials necessary to even mediocrity in this land of sport.

It is absolutely necessary not only to be a good shot, but to be so
after a sharp four-mile gallop, and from either shoulder; to load as
well while at full speed as when on foot; to be able to ride boldly
across country, and allow your horse to go down-hill at speed over the
large stones and _with a loose rein_; to pull up, dismount, fire, and
get up again with a rapidity a monkey might envy; and when an animal has
been wounded and is out of sight, to lean over your horse's shoulder,
and follow the spoor at a canter on the hard ground with the accuracy of
a hound; and last and not least, to take care to fly clear of your horse
when he turns over in a jackal's or porcupine's hole, instead of letting
him come on you and smash a few ribs.  These and many other
qualifications, I have no doubt, most of my readers possess; but there
may be some who do not, and who in consequence would not stand A1 in the
far south.

Many offers were made to me to go on elephant-shooting trips into the
interior with these men, who purposed a journey during the next dry
season: the Boers' anecdotes gave a great impulse to my already
long-cherished wishes, but circumstances unavoidably prevented this
trip.

When the Boers left my tent, I rolled myself up in my blanket, and
listened to the distant shrieks of the jackal and laugh of the hyaena,
while many other strange noises in the distance excited my curiosity.

I slept and dreamed not.

The cold air, just before daybreak, penetrating my blanket, awakened me,
and I heard the Dutchmen and Hottentots conversing near, and was soon up
and enjoying a cup of steaming hot coffee, with some beef and biscuit.

The morning sun was just showing its rays above the horizon, and the
fogs were rising up the mountains, when we were once more in the saddle.

When we had ridden for nearly an hour, we suddenly saw, in a valley
beneath us, an enormous herd of elands: they were scattered about
grazing like cattle.  The Boers' plans were immediately taken, and it
was arranged that some of the party should ride at a distance, keeping
out of sight, and show themselves on the opposite side, so as to drive
the herd towards the waggons.

Some of the party managed this business, while I and two of the Boers
waited under the hill until the elands should come past us.

After waiting some time, we could see the look-out eland get the alarm;
he twisted round, swung his tail about, and trotted down to the main
body, who soon left off feeding, collected together, and started off in
their long trot, advancing in our direction.  I admired the Boers'
arrangements,--everything was so ably planned.  Suddenly the leading
bulls of the herd seemed to smell danger in our neighbourhood, and
swerved to the right; I was afraid they were getting away from us, but
Kemp, who was by me, restrained my impatience, and told me to wait.
Soon after the elands had turned, a man on horseback was seen to canter
over the hill that they appeared steering for; he pulled up, took off
his hat and waved it, and fired a shot; he was too far off to have done
much damage by the shot, but the ruse was immediately successful,--the
whole herd wheeled suddenly into their old line, and came thundering
along towards us.  I looked at my caps to see if all was right, and
rammed the bullets down tight; such a herd of game were coming on, at
least two hundred of them, bulls and cows, with quite young calves.

The leaders were soon in line with us.  I picked out a large fat
blue-looking bull, which I saw fall dead at the shot.  Most of the
others, as they heard the whistle of the bullet, made prodigious leaps
in the air, the effect of which was extraordinary, as, from their great
size and apparent unwieldiness, these bounds seemed almost impossible.
With the second barrel I pinked another bull, but he did not fall.
These shots caused the elands to gallop on very fast; we mounted our
horses and started after the herd, a second eland having been dropped by
one of the Dutchmen, while a third was soon seen to leave the main body
and stay behind, evidently in difficulties.  I could not load very well
while going at full speed, so reduced my pace a little to accomplish it.
I had scarcely completed the operation, when my horse came down on his
head with a crash, and rolled over, flinging me far from him.  I came
down on my hands and shoulder, and fortunately was not hurt.  Upon
getting up, I found, to my disgust, that I had broken the stock of my
gun: the trigger-guard alone held it together.  I also saw that a large
jackal's or ant-bear's hole, that was concealed by the long grass, was
the cause of my horse's mistake.  There was no remedy but to ride to the
waggons for my second gun: they were not very far distant, and nearly on
the line that the elands had just taken.

I started off without loss of time, and arrived a few minutes after the
herd had passed.  They had been viewed from the waggons, and I was told
that many were badly wounded, and that five of the Dutchmen were well
up, and were, as the Kaffirs in delight said, _barnie bulalu_ (much
shooting) the elands: the Kaffirs were anticipating a regular cram that
night.  I stayed only sufficiently long to procure my sound gun, and
started in pursuit of the Boers.  I was much annoyed at being thus cut
out of so fine a chance, and to make up my distance, I let my game
little nag go his best over the springy turf that, like rolling waves,
lay around.  I suddenly noticed some animals nearly a mile distant that
looked extremely like elands, and therefore I turned in their direction,
which was nearly opposite to that which I had first pursued.

As I approached them, I made out a couple of bulls and four cow elands,
with five or six half-grown calves.  They went away as soon as they
noticed me, and crossed a little muddy hollow, that seemed soft enough
to hold them fast; they got over, however, but sunk to their bellies in
the attempt, and came out on the other side with black mud-stockings.  I
knew that their instinct had shown them the best place for a crossing,
and that if I tried at any other, I might get pounded completely; I
therefore went down to the spot, and tried my horse at it.  He would not
stir a step into the bog, but smelt at it in a suspicious manner: spurs
and whip had no effect on him, he would not face it.

An English officer who happened to have joined our party, and who
weighed upwards of sixteen stone, was now approaching at a canter: he
had lost the main body of elands, and was coming after my lot.

I saw that the quiet plan was no good with my nervous brute, so, turning
him round, I gave him a little canter, and brought him down again to the
muddy crossing with a rush.  When he found what I purposed, he tried to
refuse; but I let drop both spurs into his flank with a vigorous dig,
and at the same time plied the _sjambok_ behind with such good effect,
that he floundered into the bog, sinking to the girths.  He struggled
desperately, and could scarcely move.  There were little round hard
tufts of grass in places, that afforded him a slight footing; I
therefore dismounted, and, by shouting and lifting with the bridle,
managed to get him across the score of yards, the breadth of this horrid
place.  This struggle took a good deal out of him, and he was none of
the freshest when I remounted and followed the elands, which I saw
steadily trotting along a mile in advance.  My horse seemed to gather
strength at every stride, and by keeping him well together I hoped soon
to be able to make a push and overhaul them.  Two or three graceful
ourebis jumped up, and flew across the plain in front of me; their
beautiful movements, and frequent springs of several feet in the air,
looking most interesting by the contrast which the white and fawn robes
of these antelopes produced with the satiny green of the plain.

I at length closed with the elands, and turned a bull from the herd.  I
rode behind, and obliged him to keep at a gallop, as this pace was more
distressing to him than the trot.  Seeing another muddy place a short
distance in front, I pulled up, and as the bull was floundering through
it, I gave him the contents of both barrels in the stern.  He did not
fall, although I could see that he was very badly wounded.  I managed to
get over this difficulty with greater ease than the first, as the mud
was not so deep, and commenced loading as I rode.  Upon taking out my
bullets, I discovered that they were for my broken-stocked gun, the bore
of which was nearly two sizes larger than the one I now had with me; and
this difference I had forgotten in my hurry of changing.  I thought that
if I rode steadily after the eland, his wounds would soon cause him to
fall.  I tried this plan, but at the end of two miles saw but little
prospect of a successful termination.  I then put the bullet in my
mouth, and kept biting it to reduce its size; at last I managed just to
put it into the barrel; but when there, I could not persuade it to move
farther.

I could see no probability of my heavy sixteen stone friend coming, so I
dismounted, and with the aid of a flint on the ramrod hammered the
bullet down about half-way,--farther, however, it seemed determined not
to go.  I tried without success until the skin came off the inside of my
fingers.

The eland had trotted down to some water, that flowed from a rocky
ravine near, and formed a sort of court or semicircle, the back of which
was high, and like a stone wall.  He stood in the water, and as I
approached could not retreat, as he was in a sort of _cul de sac_, and
did not like coming past me.  I left my horse, and came within forty
yards of the antelope, to prevent his getting away, and had another try
at my obstinate bullet.  I could not get a move out of it, and therefore
felt inclined to go in at the bull with my long clasp-knife; but a
threatening kind of pawing, and a shake of the head, when I came near,
made me think it more prudent "to keep off."

I now remembered a Dutchman's plan for a "sticks bullet" as they call
it; viz., dropping a little water in the barrel.  I went to the stream
and let a few drops trickle down on the bullet.  I soon found the good
result, for the ball began to move, and at each blow from the ramrod
went lower and lower, until the clear ring and springing of the ramrod
at length showed it to be home.  I then laid my impatient prisoner low
with a shot behind the shoulder; he was a fine young bull about fifteen
hands in height.  I off-saddled and sat down near him, as I was not
inclined to follow the remainder of the herd, both horse and self having
done our work.  After about half an hour, my heavy friend showed on the
hill-top, and came galloping down and shouting to know where the elands
had gone, with as much eagerness as though he had been but half a mile
instead of half an hour behind.  I accounted for one out of the lot,
which he helped me to skin and decapitate (a proceeding that we did not
accomplish before sunset), and we conveyed the head with difficulty to
our outspanning-place for the night.  We were welcomed by the Dutchmen,
in whose estimation I found myself considerably advanced.  They could
not, however, imagine for what reason I had brought the head and horns,
and I found great difficulty in making them comprehend that they were
considered as ornaments in England and were also rarities.  They
inquired if we had no elands in that land, and seemed to think it a very
poor place where no large game was to be found.

I tried to explain to them the glories of a good run with hounds across
a grass country sprinkled with pretty stiff fences, but they could not
realise its beauties.  And when I told them that foxes were preserved
merely for the sake of being hunted, they actually roared with laughter,
and assured me that they could not live or breathe in a country so
destitute of game, or be happy or feel free unless they knew that at
least one hundred miles of open country were around them, about which
they might ride, shoot, or live, just as they liked.

I explained to them the manner in which England was cut up by roads, and
that no one was allowed to go out of these roads and ride over the
country just as he might like; and that if he did by chance do so, he
would probably be prosecuted for a trespass.  In order to prevent any
such contingency, I told them boards were always stuck up near any
pretty wood or nice places, marked in large letters, "Trespassers
beware," or, "Any person found on these grounds will be prosecuted."
This relation made them almost furious, and they allowed their spleen to
effervesce in several anathemas against the "Verdamt Englishmensch."

I have generally found that the want of a pillow is the greatest
discomfort in sleeping on the ground; all persons who run the risk of
passing a night out of their beds, should provide themselves with an
air-cushion, for it can be filled when required, and be packed very
neatly in the pocket when not wanted.



CHAPTER SEVEN.

THE DUTCHMAN'S STRATAGEM--WILD-BOAR HUNT--A VICIOUS PIGLING--
HARTEBEEST-CHASE--HIDE AND SEEK--THE ORGAN OF "LOCALITY"--FATAL
CURIOSITY--AN ESCAPADE--A FALSE ALARM--BABOONS AT HOME--A TAME BABOON--
THE BABOON AND THE CROW--LITERARY AND SCIENTIFIC TASTES--A LEOPARD
SHOT--UNPLEASANT JOURNEY--CONFLICTING OPINIONS.

On the third day we came across a troop of hartebeest, which commenced
galloping round us, taking care to keep at a long distance from us.  We
tried one or two rides at them, but failed in getting near enough for a
shot.  They continued circling round us in a most tantalising way for a
long time, while we were taking shots at from fire to six hundred yards'
distance.  Suddenly they started right away from us, and, by the
straight line which they kept, did not seem disposed to return.  One of
the Dutchmen now told me to look out for a shot, and at the same time he
fired both barrels at a high elevation, so that he sent the bullets over
the heads of the troop of hartebeest, which, striking the ground far on
ahead of them, sent up a cloud of dust.  The result was at once seen;
the troop, as they heard the whistle of the lead, and saw the dust in
front, darted here and there, and then, wheeling round, came directly
back to us.  We fired a volley at them; but, as they were at least three
hundred yards from us, and were going at full speed, one only remained
on the ground; another, however, was seen in difficulties, and
surrendered his stakes after a hard run of some six miles.

Towards evening, we had a brilliant affair with an old wild-boar (the
_vleck vark_), his wife, and children.

We were told by the people at the waggons that the brutes had passed
some time before we returned to lunch, and, having a good supply of
eland-beef, the Boers thought that some bacon would be very palatable.
We therefore took all the curs that were with the waggons, and went out
in search of the party.  We got the spoor immediately, and, partly by
that and partly by the aid of the dogs, we drew up to some rocky hills,
that presented anything but a favourable ground for galloping.  The boar
was seen a long way on ahead, leading his sow and sucklings at a trot,
which was increased to a rapid gallop as our approach became known to
him.  The pace at which the whole party went along the rocky ground was
more than we could manage to beat, until a long, flat, grassy plain
again became the scene of contest.  As we neared, we sent the curs in
advance, who, without difficulty, overhauled the chase.  The movements
of the boar family were most absurd; with tails sticking straight up,
they galloped along, putting their snouts up in the air occasionally to
have a look over their backs at their pursuers; this gave to their whole
action a most absurd appearance.  These creatures are obliged to do
thus, because their eyes are placed so far forward, and their necks are
so stiff, that they cannot see to the right or left by turning the head.
On the outside of the eye a large lump of flesh protrudes, which also
limits the lateral vision considerably.

As the dogs came up to the pigs, they laid hold of one of those
invitingly-carried tails, and soon reduced it to a stump.  The wild-boar
himself was armed with a formidable pair of semicircular tusks in the
upper jaw, while the lower jaw was furnished with those sharp, straight,
short tusks that soon rip up a dog, as they did most effectually on the
present occasion a large cur which ventured to pin the pig himself.
When we were close to the herd, the boar slackened his speed, and had a
wicked expression about the eye that indicated a wish for mischief.
Little time was given to him for consideration, as a well-directed
bullet laid him low.  A young pig which I succeeded in catching was a
regular little varmint; he squeaked and struggled furiously, and tried
to bite every hand that was placed near him.  He was not much bigger
than a sucking-pig.  So, after tying his legs together, I slipped him
into a haversack, and delivered him in safety to one of my Kaffirs, who
placed him in a waggon.  On the following day, he bit a Hottentot's
finger, and was in consequence killed by the man.  I did not know how or
where the animal was for two days, as the murder was concealed from me.
I regretted the loss of this savage little creature, as I had intended
to send him to England.

We passed eight days in the Mooi river veldt.  The weather was fine,
except on the last day, when the rain poured in torrents.  I sought
shelter under the waggon-tilt, but was forced to lie on a mattress
stuffed with eland's meat.  One must not grumble in this country at
having to submit to even greater disagreeables.

The air was delightfully pure and bracing on these plains, and I quite
regretted that I had not a shooting-box near them, so as to be able to
pass, months at a time in their vicinity.

The Boers came into my tent each night, and by their conversation and
anecdotes gave me a great fund of useful information on the biped and
quadruped life of Africa, and on the craft that was necessary in
carrying on a successful campaign against either.

Whilst on a visit to an English settler, who resided about forty miles
from Pietermaritzburg, I had some good sport with hartebeest.

Having made inquiries from the few Kaffirs who lived in this
neighbourhood, I found that a troop of hartebeest were usually found
feeding on some table-land about twenty miles from the house at which I
was staying.  I therefore started alone one beautiful bright morning at
daybreak to have a quiet gallop after these animals.  Unfortunately, my
telescope had been forgotten, and I could not scan the country with such
accuracy as to distinguish the antelope from the stone on the flat
distant hills.  After riding an hour or two, I reached the country that
had been indicated to me as the hartebeest kop; I off-saddled for half
an hour to have my horse as fresh as possible, in case of a run, and
then continued my ride.  On rising a little stony ridge, I suddenly came
on a troop of nearly forty hartebeest: they were grazing, but
immediately took the alarm.  As usual, they did not at once make
straight away, but took two or three circling gallops round me; they
kept at such a safe distance that I did not try a shot for some time; at
length, seeing that they were going away, I rode at a point for which
they were making.  I had to keep my horse at full gallop to hold my
position with them, although they seemed to be merely cantering.  There
was a little opening between two hills, and for this the hartebeest
appeared to be steering; making a grand push, I passed a little ahead of
them, and, jumping off, got a double shot at the string as they dashed
past.  I saw that the result was a hind-leg of a fine bull-hartebeest
broken.  He went gallantly away on three legs, but I certainly did not
doubt but that I should be more than a match for him with the horse's
four.  I lost a little ground by dismounting, and before I had loaded
again, the herd had passed out of sight over some rising ground.

Upon again viewing the hartebeest, I was alarmed at the start they had
obtained; they were mere specks in the distance.  Feeling great
confidence in the gameness of my well-conditioned, hardy little nag, I
let him go over the green springy turf, and soon found that the distance
between us and the hartebeest was diminishing.  Seeing my horse's ears
suddenly elevated, I looked round on each side, and saw my three-legged
hartebeest galloping away behind, and nearly close to me; he had been
lying down amongst some stones, and had allowed me to pass without
moving.  I turned after him, my horse seeming as anxious in the chase as
a hound.  When an animal is badly wounded, he usually separates himself
from the remainder of the herd, as though they no longer had any
sympathy with him, and he then seeks in solitude to brood over his
sufferings, unwatched by the eyes of his fellows.  I intended to save my
ammunition until I got a fair chance of a dead shot, but after a
stern-chase of more than four miles, I found that the loss of one leg
did not much affect the speed of my friend; edging off a little, I made
a push forward, and pulled up for a broadside-shot at little more than
one hundred yards distant.  As I did so, the hartebeest also stopped and
looked at me, and I dropped him with the first shot behind the shoulder.
The next proceeding was to get as much of the flesh cut up and put on
my horse as he could manage to carry.  I was anxious for the head and
skin; but from want of skill as a butcher, I mauled the skin so terribly
that I found it would be useless.  Taking away the head and choice parts
of the flesh, I looked round for my bearings, and slowly returned
homewards.

To the inexperienced in this sort of travelling the road would not have
been easy.  The hills bear a wonderful resemblance to one another, and
during the excitement of a gallop of this description, there is little
time to take observations as to the course one is pursuing; a sort of
instinct seems to supply the place of reason; it would be difficult to
tell any one why or how we know that such a direction is the right one--
we _feel_ that it is so, but can give no reason why.  I am confident
that this is the feeling that animals have when they find their way for
miles to their homes by roads on which they have never before travelled.
There is a well-authenticated instance of a dog having been taken from
the south of England to Scotland by sea, and returning alone by land.

On another day I went out hartebeest-hunting, and soon found a troop of
these creatures quietly feeding on a level plain that extended some
miles around.  They were some distance from me, and my horse, not having
had any good forage for four days, had lost his condition, and was not
fit for a gallop after these fleet animals.  There was not a stone or
ant-hill near enough to get a shot from, and the grass being very short,
stalking was out of the question.  I left my horse, and slid along to
within six hundred yards of the herd without attracting their attention,
and lay down in a small patch of long grass to watch proceedings.  A
knowing old bull-hartebeest, however, was on the look-out, and kept
moving from side to side with a careful and suspicious air.  I saw that
I could get no nearer, and yet did not like to try my shot from such a
distance.  I had often heard of the curiosity of the antelopes, and that
they might be decoyed by this weakness of character.  So lying down well
out of sight, I took a red silk pocket-handkerchief, and, tying it to my
gun, waved it slowly above the grass.  The hartebeest saw it
immediately, and all left off feeding; they moved about very
suspiciously, keeping a good lookout at the strange object.  I kept
waving the flag most industriously, and soon saw that they were coming
up towards it; but when about two hundred yards distant, they again
stopped, and eyed my signal.  Hoping that they would come nearer, I did
not fire, and saw them walk knowingly round to leeward to try and get my
wind.  This would have ruined all, so, lowering the flag, I fired at the
ancient bull and dropped him.  It was the cleanest dead shot I ever saw.
A Dutchman, in describing a similar event, said that "the foot that was
in the air never came to the ground while there was life."  I gave the
contents of the second barrel to another bull; but he went away
gallantly after receiving the ball in his ribs.  I took enormous pains
to skin and preserve the head from injury, and then went down for my
nag, who had remained feeding quietly.  He was a good shooting-horse,
and generally behaved well; but when he saw me coming, he gave an
impudent sort of whisk of his tail and walked quietly away, holding his
head sufficiently on one side to keep the reins from catching the feet.
I called to him and stood still, he stopped and fed; I walked slowly
towards him, he walked slowly away, keeping his eye on me with a
malicious twinkle; I ran towards him, he trotted off; and thus passed
half an hour.  I found it was no use trying to catch him, for he was
determined on mischief, and there was no help for it.  I returned to the
hartebeest and got his head and tail and my gun; the skin I left, as it
was more than I could carry in addition.  I then returned to my horse,
who had made use of his time and had been feeding away at the short
green grass.  As I came towards him, he moved on as before: fortunately
he seemed to know the road that he had come, and returned on his spoor.
Now and then he would canter on half a mile or so, stop and feed till I
came near, when he would start off again.  It was a great trial for my
temper, as my load was considerable and the journey before me very long;
the burning sun was directly over my head, and its heat consequently
intense.  I took a pull or two at my flask, and trudged on for upwards
of four hours before I came in sight of my friend's house, this
tantalising rascal in front of me the whole time.  I then went to the
stream near, and finding a still, quiet pool, cooled myself with a dip
in its clear water.

On the following day I got a long halter with a bowling-knot at the end,
and cantered this same horse over my journey of yesterday, as I thought
it possible that I might find the skin of the hartebeest fit to take
away.  As I came near, however, I gave up this hope, for I saw a vulture
sailing over my head in the same direction in which I was going; I
looked up, and saw another and another.  When I came near the carcase, I
saw a regular inquest sitting there, a dozen vultures at least, most of
them gorged to repletion, while others were fighting for bits of the
skin.  Seeing that there was nothing left for my share, I withdrew.

During the shooting trip with the Boers, I awoke before daybreak, and as
I felt very cold and not inclined to sleep, I got up, and taking my gun,
walked to a little ravine, out of which a clear murmuring stream flashed
in the moonlight and ran close past our outspan.  A little distance up
this kloof the fog was dense and thick, the blue and pink streaks of the
morning light were beginning to illumine the peaks of the Draakensberg,
but all immediately around us still acknowledged the supremacy of the
pale moonlight.  I wanted to see the sun rise in this lonely region, and
watch the changing effects which its arrival would produce on the
mountains and plains around.

Suddenly I heard a hoarse cough, and, on turning, saw indistinctly in
the fog a queer little old man standing near and looking at me.  I
instinctively cocked my gun, as the idea of Bushmen and poisoned arrows
flashed across my mind.  The old man instantly dropped on his hands,
giving another hoarse cough, that evidently told a tale of consumptive
lungs; he snatched up something beside him, which seemed to leap on his
shoulders, and then he scampered off up the ravine on all fours.  Before
half this performance was completed, I had discovered my mistake, the
little old man turned into an ursine baboon, with an infant ditto, who
had come down the kloof to drink.  The "old man's" cough was answered by
a dozen others, at present hidden in the fogs; soon, however,

  "Uprose the sun, the mists were curl'd
  Back from the solitary world
  Which lay around;"

and I obtained a view of the range of mountains gilded by the morning
sun.

A large party of the old gentleman's family were sitting up the ravine,
and were evidently holding a debate as to the cause of my intrusion.  I
watched them through my glass, and was much amused at their grotesque
and almost human movements.  Some of the old ladies had their
olive-branches in their laps, and appeared to be "doing their hair,"
while a patriarchal-looking old fellow paced backwards and forwards with
a fussy sort of look: he was evidently on sentry, and seemed to think
himself of no small importance.  This estimate of his dignity did not
appear to be universally acknowledged, as two or three young baboons sat
close behind him watching his proceedings; sometimes with the most
grotesque movements and expressions they would stand directly in his
path, and hobble away only at the last moment.  One daring youngster
followed close on the heels of the patriarch, during the whole length of
his beat, and gave a sharp tug at his tail as he was about to turn.  The
old fellow seemed to treat it with the greatest indifference, scarcely
turning round at the insult.  Master Impudence was about repeating the
performance, when the pater, showing that he was not such a fool as he
looked, suddenly sprung round, and catching the young one before he
could escape, gave him two or three such cuffs, that I could hear the
screams that resulted therefrom.  The venerable gentleman then chucked
the delinquent over his shoulder, and continued his promenade with the
greatest coolness: this old baboon evidently was acquainted with the
practical details of Solomon's proverb.  A crowd gathered round the
naughty child, who, childlike, seeing commiseration, shrieked all the
louder.  I even fancied I could see the angry glances of the mamma, as
she took her dear little pet in her arms and removed it from a
repetition of such brutal treatment.

The habits of these animals are almost human, and their interior and
domestic arrangements much to be admired.  My friend M--, before
mentioned in connection with my first acquaintance with elephants;
possessed a most interesting young baboon, whose fun and tricks
frequently afforded me amusement.  The baboon used to be allowed to run
loose, and accompany us in our quiet walks, and would follow like a dog.
It was difficult to restrain his mercurial temperament; at one moment
he would jump on one of our backs, holding on by our coats, and then
bolt away, as though he never meant to return.  His great delight,
however, seemed to lie in bullying and frightening the Kaffir women.
Did he, with his eagle glance, discover one of these, he would rush at
her, with fierce expression and threatening barks.  Away she would run,
dropping her basket or hoe.  He would soon catch her, and, holding on to
a leg, would move his eyebrows about, and stare at her, as though he
were the veriest vampire on earth.  Sometimes this scene would be viewed
from the kraal near, and a mangy, spectre-looking Kaffir cur would be
hied on to the rescue.  Now the tables were turned, and Jacko would have
to scuttle away for his life to some tree, amongst the branches of which
he would spring with wonderful agility, until with a rapid twinkle of
the eye he discovered that he was high enough to be safe from the
gnashing teeth of the infuriated dog below.  Instantly becoming calm, he
gazed upwards and around, with a quiet and contemplative air, as though
he had sought this elevated position for the sole purpose of meditating
on the weakness of baboon and animal nature generally, but more
particularly on the foibles of excited Kaffir curs.

I was much amused in watching this creature's, revenge on a crow that
had frequently robbed him of tit-bits which by accident had gone beyond
the reach of his chain.  He watched this bird flying round him,
settling, and walking nearer, and again flying; so he left his meal, and
laid himself down, as though the wished-for food was entirely beneath
his notice.  The crow settled near, and carefully watched the
proceedings.  First he inspected the chopped potatoes and meat, and then
the sleepy baboon.  Again the tempting morsels attracted his hungry
appetite, and after one or two retreats, he at last came fairly up to
the tin dish,--not a move from the baboon.  Crow gobbled down a bit, and
looked suspiciously round,--still all was safe.  Again a mouthful was
bolted; then, as if satisfied that it had entirely mistaken the
character of the hairy little creature about whom he had been
suspicious, but who was really at heart a very generous fellow, the bird
dived its beak well amongst the good things.  An attentive observer
might now see the hair on the back of the baboon rising up in a very
curious way, while his body seemed to be slightly writhing.  Suddenly,
with one spring, he was upon the bird, who had scarcely time to open its
wings.  With a chorus of triumphant barks he held the crow by the neck,
while he swung it about at arm's length, so that any expostulating "caw"
that might have been uttered was strangled before it could be
circulated, like a disloyal article in a continental newspaper.  No one
could say of this bird that it carried out the corvine principle, and--

              "--died as slow,
  As the morning mists down the hill that go."

For the whole business was over in half a minute, after which several
feathers were pulled out, and the carrion then flung away, as a scare
and warning to all other hungry crows.  The baboon then finished his
dinner with a very satisfied air.

His literary taste was the cause of his being a chained prisoner, as,
rambling one day into a hut near, he drank a bottle of ink, ate a box of
wafers, and was found by the owner studying the watch-making practised
by "Dent, London."  When we consider that this baboon was not two years
old at the time, and several young gentlemen of my acquaintance are ten
and eleven, it may fairly be expected that when he arrives at their
years, he may be able to rival them in many of their practices.

Upon the return march from Bushman's River, I was nearly having to pass
the night in the open country, without dinner, supper, or blankets.
Finding the slow pace of the waggons very disagreeable, and the road
dull and uninteresting, I proposed to a Lieutenant G--, of the party, to
join me in a little detour in the surrounding country.  We left the
road, and riding at right angles to the line of its direction, continued
our journey in a supposed parallel direction to the road, after a dive
into the plain of about three miles.  Now it so happened that when we
left, the road pointed nearly south, but shortly after it turned to the
east; thus, when we fancied that we were moving in a parallel direction,
we were in fact going directly away from it.  We rode on quietly, taking
a bread-and-cheese luncheon from our pockets, and seeing only a few
ourebis, that were, however, very wild, until our attention was drawn to
a moving object by the side of a grassy watercourse.  Watching this
object carefully, we soon saw it was a leopard, and rode towards it
quietly, so as not to cause an alarm, if possible, until we were near
it.  When within about sixty yards, the animal saw us, and crouched down
in the grass.  Having my favourite gun, the left barrel of which threw a
bullet with the precision of a rifle, I fired at the leopard as I saw it
crouching; it scarcely moved, and the bullet threw up no dust,
convincing me by this one circumstance that I had hit the animal.

We rode up to where it lay, and I was about dismounting and walking up
to the spot, when, just as my foot was out of the stirrup, the leopard
jumped up, gave a snarl, and bounded off, apparently safe and sound.
Both our horses reared and turned round, and, before I could arrange
matters, and bring my second barrel to bear, the leopard looked
beautifully small at the distance of three hundred yards.  I pitched, a
bullet, however, just over him, with, of course, no result.

As the sun was nearly, setting, we now changed our direction at right
angles to the old one, thinking by this that we were steering directly
for the road; we were, however, in reality, only now going parallel to
it, and at nearly twenty miles' distance.  We rode on and on, our horses
beginning to show signs of fatigue, we having been in the saddle about
six hours, with only half an hour's rest.  They had, however, a longer
journey before them than we imagined.  We soon were overtaken by the
darkness, and had to fix on particular stars near the horizon as guides;
these sometimes were lost sight of as we went down a kloof.  The riding
was rather rough, as big pointed stones two or three feet high were
pleasantly mixed up with the long grass, about five feet in its growth.
It was too dark to see these and avoid them, and more than once horses
and riders came floundering down in one heap.  Once or twice we were in
doubt whether we should camp for the night, or still try to reach the
road.  We had a consultation about our position, and where we ought to
ride to reach the road.  After some discussion, we discovered the real
cause of our failure, and therefore rode more to the right than we had
before done.  At length, we crossed a road, and my companion at once
said we were all right, and proposed cantering on.  I was not quite so
certain about being right, but was almost overruled; so I dismounted,
and, kneeling down on the ground, examined for spoor.  Knowing that a
gun and waggon horsed, with about half a dozen other waggons with each a
span of oxen, could not pass without leaving sign, I crawled along for
some distance, but could not trace more than two fresh waggon-wheels.  I
therefore determined that this was the wrong road, and that we must ride
yet farther to hit the one that our people had followed.  I was very
nearly giving in, as G--argued very powerfully; but he at last consented
to go on a mile or two, and if we did not come to any other road, to
return to the present one.  We rode about four miles, when another
beaten track, which they here compliment with the title of a road, was
crossed; on dismounting, I found that waggons, oxen, horses, and nailed
boots, had all passed on that day.  We followed this road, and in about
two hours reached the Mooi river, on the opposite side of which our camp
for the night had been formed.  It was about 1« a.m. when we reached the
waggons, hungry and tired, our horses, however, being wonderfully fresh,
although we had been nearly fourteen hours in the saddle.  The road that
we first crossed would have taken us twenty-five miles before we could
have seen a house, and we should have reached the river fifteen miles
from our camp.



CHAPTER EIGHT.

THE BIVOUAC--HOTMAN'S STORY--TERRIBLE MISFORTUNE--BOTH SIDES OF THE
STORY--HOW TO FIND WATER--KEMP'S STORY--DEATH OF MABILI--SINGLE
ELEPHANTS TO BE AVOIDED--HENDRICK AND THE LEOPARD--A STRUGGLE FOR LIFE--
A WEARY NIGHT--A POISONOUS COMPANION--THE RESCUE--SAVAGE HERMITS--THE
"TREK-BOKEN."

One evening the Boers wished me to tell them something about England,
but by a little tact I changed the subject to their own adventures, and
at length persuaded one of these men to relate what had happened to
himself.  I listened to his words with great interest, for the locality
was good for a tale of thrilling adventure.  The only noises that
disturbed the stillness of the silvery moonlight night, were the
language of the Kaffirs, with its low harmonious expressions, the
crackling of the bivouac-fire as fresh fuel was added, and the distant
shriek of the jackal, and laugh of the hyaena, which seemed in this
demon-like language to hold communion with the restless spirits who
dwelt in the wild regions around us.

"Water is a fine thing, and none know its value who have not suffered
for want of it," said Hotman, one of our party.

"Tell us your story about the elephants," asked another.

"I was shooting," said Hotman, "some years back near the Pongola, and
had had very good sport; the season was very dry, and we had been for
two days with very little water, and that was rather brackish.  The vlei
being nearly exhausted, and the oxen having sore feet, I determined to
go out and have a look for some water, and if I found any, to lead the
waggons to it at once.  I climbed up a tree near the outspan, and
thought that I saw a line of bushes some distance off that showed like
the presence of water.  Taking with me Karl, a Hottentot,--who was worth
his weight in gold, spoored and rode well, a steady hand with elephants,
and seldom got drunk or told lies, all great recommendations for a
Totty,--we started away to the bushy place which I had seen, leaving my
other Hottentot and three Kaffirs with the waggons.

"All my horses had died of the sickness, and several of the oxen were
very bad with the same disease.  I gave directions that my Kaffirs were
not to leave the waggons until I returned, as elephants were near them,
and I wished them to keep a fire burning night and day, as a protection.
Enough water was in the vlei to last two or three days, with care.  We
had scooped out a hole, and to obtain water, dipped the small tin cans
in it till we got a pailful, which we gave then to the oxen.  I had
ordered the Kaffirs to drive the oxen far away, and to make them fast
when they came near, so that the vlei might not be trampled in, and the
water consequently spoiled.

"Karl and I trudged on for some miles to a little `kop,' where we hoped
to get a better view round.  There was still an appearance of water in
the direction where I had first expected, and we made towards it; we
arrived there about sundown, and found not a drop--a few stunted bushes
were all that could be seen.  We lighted a fire, and had a little
biltong meat dried in the sun for supper.  The day had been very hot,
and I was thirsty already, but was obliged to manage without drinking.
I knew that I should lose my oxen if I did not find water on the morrow.

"During the night several animals came round the fight of our fire, and
once I saw a lion: I shouted, and he went away.

"Early in the morning we were off again, taking a sweep round towards
the waggons.  I thought that we were certain of finding water this day;
so, although very thirsty, I was not at all alarmed.  We walked until
long past mid-day, without getting a glimpse of any likely-looking
place.  The dry salt meat that I had eaten caused me to suffer very much
from thirst; the heat of the day was also very great.  I kept a bullet
in my mouth and bit it; but this soon ceased to be of any use, and my
tongue was rattling in my mouth like a stone.  I felt growing savage,
gave up the idea of water for the oxen, and thought only of myself.

"We had to sleep out another night, as I was so much exhausted I could
not walk fast.  Karl suffered nearly as much as I did; but I think that
a Hottentot is by nature more seasoned than a white man, and endures
privations better.

"On the following morning I could not swallow anything,--thus took no
breakfast.  I was looking forward with joy to the prospect of even a
mouthful of the brackish water that, was at the vlei, which I trusted
was not yet all exhausted.  We neared the place where the waggon was
left just as it was getting light.  I fired my gun to let my Kaffirs
know that I was coming, but received no answer, nor could I see anything
of the white waggon-top.  We began to think that we must have mistaken
our bearings; but upon getting nearer, we saw an object that looked like
the waggon lying on its side: no one was near it, and there was no sign
of a fire.  What could be the matter?  We walked up quickly to the spot,
but first went to the vlei, for a little water.  Here the catastrophe
was explained.  Instead of water, a thick mud-paste covered the ground;
large circular holes, nearly a foot deep, and two feet in diameter,
were, as it seemed, dug all over it; one or two large flat places looked
as if the vlei had been rolled with the trunks of trees; these had been
baked with the sun, and were nearly hard and dry,--not so much as a drop
of water.

"A troop of bull-elephants had rolled in the mud and trodden all the
water away.

"Not content with that, they had either through rage or curiosity upset
the waggon, broken one wheel off, and scattered everything about.  My
Hottentot and Kaffirs no doubt had bolted on the first appearance of the
elephants, without so much as firing a shot to try and drive them away.
The oxen had also fled; and there we were, with a few biscuits, biltong,
powder, shot, and guns, a hundred miles from help.  This distance would
have been `nix' (nothing) if we could only have procured water; but I
knew of none within forty miles, and we had now been forty-eight hours
without quenching our thirst.

"I lay down on the ground in despair.  The ivory I had collected was
scattered all about; I thought I never should convey half of it to my
home.

"Home!  How was _I_ ever to reach home?

"I said to Karl, `You are stronger than I am, you go on, _you_ may get
to water soon, but I am so weak I must stop here and die.'

"`Ne, bas,' (no, sir), said Karl; `let us try on the other side.'

"I thought, if I could only shoot a buck, I would not hesitate a moment
about drinking his blood; in this idea a hope dawned upon me, and I
struggled on.

"Towards the middle of the day Karl pointed out a moving object some
distance from us.  We stopped to look at it, when Karl exclaimed,
`Wasser soon, bas.'

"`Why, how?'  I asked.

"`That is reitbok,' he said: `where reitbok is, there are reits (reeds);
where reits, there wasser.'

"I saw his reasoning, and that it was not likely that a reitbok would be
very far from water.

"This hope gave me fresh strength to go on: we followed the slight
traces of this buck, and soon came to a regular beaten track that the
buck had made in going to and returning from water.  We soon came to the
vlei: there was not much water, but still it was worth more than gold to
me; I drank as I never drank before.

"We stopped beside it all night, and I began to feel hungry, and to want
something more than the dry biltong; when, just at daybreak, a reitbok
came to drink; Karl was going to shoot him, but I would not let him,
explaining that it appeared as though Providence had sent the buck
yesterday to save us from dying of thirst.

"`Perhaps He sent him to-day to save us from dying of hunger too, bas,'
was Karl's irreverent answer.  He was, however, allowed to retreat
unharmed.

"After four days' travelling on foot, I came to fresh waggon-spoor; we
followed it up, when I found it was Eus and Maritz returning from a
shooting-journey.  They had some spare oxen, which they lent me; I
returned with this help, mended my waggon, and had my revenge on the
herd of elephants, killing three of them before I left."

"Well," said Kemp, "when I go into a country where there is not much
water, I always take my baboon."

"You don't drink him, do you?"

"No, but I make him show me water."

"How do you do that?"

"In this way:--When water gets scarce, I give the Bavian none: if he
does not seem thirsty, I rub a little salt on his tongue; I then take
him out with a long string or chain.  At first it was difficult to make
him understand what was wanted, for he always wished to go back to the
waggons.  Now, however, he is well-trained.

"When I get him out some distance, I let him go; he runs along a bit,
scratches himself, shows his teeth at me, takes a smell up-wind, looks
all round, picks up a bit of grass, smells or eats it, stands up for
another sniff, canters on, and so on.  Wherever the nearest water is,
there he is sure to go."  This anecdote was corroborated by others
present.

I think a tame baboon to point water is a new phrase to our
non-travelled sporting friends.

"These elephants must have been very angry," said Kemp.  "One never
knows in what temper to find them: they are on one day quiet, and seem
scarcely to object to being shot at, while on another they will not
allow you to come within a quarter of a mile of them without charging
you.  I have been very careful how I approached elephants, ever since my
Kaffir was killed by them last year, near the Um Volozie."  Another
story was here called for, and Kemp told us the following:--Whilst up
the country shooting, he came on the fresh spoor of a very large
bull-elephant: the traces were quite fresh, the game having passed early
that morning.  His Kaffir, who was named Mabili, was a capital shot,
very cool when near large and dangerous game, and brave as a lion.  This
man was walking beside the Dutchman, who rode a small pony.

It had been arranged between these two, that Mabili was to be entitled
to half the game if he put the first bullet into the elephant.  This was
to give him a greater interest in the hunting, and make him keep a sharp
lookout.  If, however, he only assisted at the death of an elephant, he
was to receive whatever the Boer thought that he deserved.

They followed the spoor of the elephant through an open park-like
country, a few scattered bushes and trees being the only cover.

They had proceeded about four miles on the traces, when the elephant was
seen standing under a large tree.  I will describe the scene as nearly
in the Dutchman's manner as I can remember:--

"He swung his trunk a little every now and then, or I could not have
distinguished him from a large rock, he stood so still.  We made our
plan immediately.  I was to leave my horse where we were, and stalk with
my Kaffir up to the elephant, for he seemed so quiet that I had no fear
that I should not surprise him, surprise being half the battle with an
elephant.  Mabili had a single-barrelled heavy rifle of mine, that threw
a three-ounce bullet, while I was armed with the gun I have with me now
(a double-barrelled, eight to the pound).  We took advantage of every
tree and bush on the ground to conceal our approach, and we arrived to
within fifty yards apparently unnoticed.  Just as we were going to fire,
the hitherto sleepy-looking brute turned quickly round with ears
extended, gave a tremendously shrill trumpet, and charged straight at
us.  We both fired at him, and both hit him; but he never even shook his
head, and continued dashing along after us.  I turned and ran towards my
horse, but had little hope of reaching him, as the distance was great.
I therefore dodged sharp to the right, in the direction of a big tree
that I had noticed near.  I did not know what had become of Mabili, but,
on looking round, saw that he had turned in the opposite direction; he
was quite right to do this, as it generally puzzles an elephant when
those he may be chasing separate.  It seemed, however, as if the animal
had got its eye well on poor Mabili, as it turned after him, and soon
was close on him, I feared that there was no chance for my poor Kaffir,
but shouted as loud as I could and fired, that I might take off the
elephant's attention.  It was useless; in the next instant he had caught
Mabili with his trunk, with which he seemed to press him to the ground,
dropping on his knees at the same time so as to thrust his tusks into
him.  I thought I heard a faint shriek, but, instantly getting on my
horse, I galloped up to the scene, and sent a couple of bullets into the
savage monster.  He had taken up the mangled body of poor Mabili, and
was slowly walking away with it, held by his trunk; when I wounded him,
he dropped the body, and, giving one of his shrill trumpets, came at me.
I did not care much for him now, as I could gallop away from him
easily, and, loading quickly, repeated the dose.  Six double shots did I
give that fellow all about the shoulder before he showed any sign of
their hurting him; he then seemed a little weak, and sent a good deal of
blood out of his trunk.  I was determined to kill that elephant, if I
followed him for a week.  Upon giving him three more shots, he swung his
trunk about a little and fell.

"I now looked for the remains of my Kaffir, and found him crushed to
pieces; his death must have been quick, as a tusk had gone quite through
him, breaking in his chest.

"We buried him next day under the tree near which we had first seen the
elephant.  This man was the best hunting Kaffir I ever had.  Always take
care how you go near single bull-elephants--they are always very savage:
but of all things mind cow-elephants without tusks; they are not common,
but if you do come across a `_poes-kop_' like this, `_pas-op_' (take
care)."

Many other tales were told at the time, in which I took great interest.
The place was a good one in which to listen to such stirring relations,
and they were told without any wish of boasting or display, but merely
related as by no means unusual occurrences to those present.  Another
story was told, which I remember, from the visible proof that was given
me of the relator's veracity.  The relator of the story, who was called
Hendrick, was a short dark man, but had plenty of sinews, and a look of
determination about the eye and lip, evidently showing that upon
occasion he could make good his words by deeds.  He was asked to tell me
the story, and did not appear at all unwilling to comply with the
request:--

"When I was a youngster about seventeen, I was staying at the house of a
neighbour, who had suffered from the visits of a leopard, which had
killed nearly twenty chickens during two nights.  No one at the house
was much of a shot, and they did not like meddling with this fellow.
Now, for reasons of my own, I wanted to shoot him."

"Tell the truth, Hendrick; you wanted to show the pretty Katrine you
were a man," said one of the party.

"Well, I did wish it," said Hendrick; "so I started one morning quite
early, without telling any one what I was going to do; and mounting my
pony, I rode to a kloof about four miles off, where I knew the
chicken-killer would most probably be found.  My gun was only a
single-barrelled, but I did not care much for that.

"I went down the ravine on foot, and looked all about for spoor.  When I
had walked some distance in the kloof and amongst some trees, I found
the remains of a buck partly eaten.  I saw that it had been seized by
the neck, and therefore knew that a leopard had killed it, a hyaena or
wolf generally seizing by the flank.  I looked carefully all round, but
could see nothing of the leopard; but at last I happened to look up in
the trees, and there he was leaning over a large branch and eyeing me
most viciously.  When he saw that I had discovered him, he sprung
quickly to the ground, and darted away through the long grass.  I had
just time to fire at him as he went, and saw by the twist of his body
that I had wounded him; but he jumped along like a cat, and as though
not much damaged.  I ran up the ravine to my horse, and galloped after
the leopard, which I could see going along very fast.  He was making for
a much larger ravine, where some tall trees showed their tops above the
banks.

"Leaving my horse outside, I went into the ravine on the spoor, which I
had great difficulty in following, as the briers and wait-a-bit thorns
were troublesome to push through.

"After a little way I saw some blood, and could now get on better; my
gun had a good charge of powder in it, and I held it ready for a shot,
and felt that my knife was loose in the sheath.  I did not much like the
work, now I was really at it; but it would never do to go back and say I
had not looked to see if my leopard were dead.

"I sat still a little while to collect my pluck and listen for any sign:
not discerning any noise, I moved on again.

"When I was down nearly at the bottom of the ravine, I suddenly saw
close to me the wounded leopard: he did not run away this time, but
crouched down and spit at me like a spiteful cat, laying his ears back
and showing his teeth.  I fired straight at him at once, and must have
hit him; but he still did not move for about an instant.  Then with a
bound he came close to me, and, just as I was drawing my knife, sprung
on me, at the same time seizing the arm with which I tried to keep him
off, and fixing his claws into my shoulders.  The pain was so great that
I shrieked out; but there was no one within five miles to help me, and I
knew that I must fight the battle myself for my life.  My right arm
being free, I plunged my long knife into the brute's stomach and ripped
him up to the chest, and gave him one or two digs behind the shoulder,
which must have found his heart, as he suddenly relaxed his hold and
fell down from me.  The flesh on my thighs was badly torn, as he had
fixed his hind-legs there and scratched me, as I have seen two kittens
do to each other at play.  This struggle was all over in a few seconds,
but I had been knocked down, torn, and my arm broken during the time.  I
tried to get up, but felt giddy and queer, and fell back on the ground
insensible.

"When I again came to myself, and knew all that had happened, it was
quite dark, and I found myself very cold.  I tried to get up, but came
again to the ground, from pain and weakness.  I was in great agony, and
felt dreadfully thirsty.  A little stream ran down the kloof, and I
could hear the water rippling along merrily within a few yards, and yet
I could not move.  I must have bled very much, as my legs were awfully
torn as well as my shoulders, and my arm broken.  I could not judge at
all what time it was, as, where I lay, the trees prevented my getting
much of a view of the stars, and there was no moon to judge by.  I lay
thinking whether I should live or die, and what my friends and Katrine
would think had become of me.  The only probable chance of any one
coming to help me seemed to be that my pony would go home when he found
I did not return to him.  A Hottentot then might see him, think
something was the matter, and perhaps spoor me to where I lay.  I was
hoping anxiously for daylight, as I would then try and load my gun, and
fire some shots, which would probably be heard at a distance.  I so
frequently went away for a day or so and stopped at my brother's, that I
did not think the people at the house would be at all alarmed at my
absence during the night.  I thought over all that had happened to me,
and could not blame myself for having been foolhardy, although I was
unlucky, and ought to have killed the leopard dead at once.  I never
knew how it was that he escaped the second shot, for I aimed straight
between the eyes, and rarely missed a steady shot.  I felt certain that
the leopard was dead,--there was that satisfaction at least, and I hoped
I should get credit for my courage.  I was very anxious for the arrival
of day, as I thought help might come then.  I had several times tried to
move, but the attempt had caused such pain in the wounds, that I could
not stir an inch.  I thought I felt close against my shoulder a movement
of something or other crawling: I did not notice it at first, but once
or twice I felt a slight pressure against my arm, which still had a
little sensation left.  I could not get up, so lay quiet, and did not
worry myself about it.

"A long time seemed to pass before the daylight came; I lay almost
fainting and stupid from the pain and cold, but at last determined to
try and load my gun.  I turned my head with difficulty, and looked down
for my weapon and powder-horn.  As I looked at my broken arm," which was
lying uselessly beside me, I saw a great brown-looking thing lying over
it.  It was an instant or so before I knew what was there; but then I
saw that it was the fat bloated body of a hideous puff-adder, lying
close against me, evidently for the sake of the warmth.  Why I did not
shriek out I don't know; but I never moved.  This adder, then, was the
thing that I had felt pressing against me for some time, and this
poisonous reptile had been my companion for hours.

"I kept my eyes on him, and could see a slight muscular motion in his
body every now and then like breathing; the idea came across me that he
was drinking the blood of my wounds, and had perhaps already bitten me.
I felt that I must watch him, and could not look in any other direction;
I dared not attempt another trial to get up, as I might fall back on
this brute, and get at once a dose of his poison, and be dead in an
hour.  At last the joyful sound of voices came upon my ear, and there
was shouting; I dared not answer, lest the movement in doing so might
enrage the adder.  I had the fear that the people might not come down to
look for me if they heard nothing, and might go on, leaving me to die
where I was.  I listened, and could hear people talking, but could not
make out the words or to whom the voices belonged, but had no doubt that
they were some people come in search of me.  I at length was certain
that, whoever it was, they were now spooring me up, and at last heard
their steps come nearer, as they pushed the branches on one side.  New
hope seemed to come into my heart at these sounds, and I breathed more
freely.

"As the steps approached, the puff-adder moved; he raised his broad
head, not quite two feet from me, and looked in the direction of the new
comers; then dropping down, he glided away through the brushwood.  I
watched him retire, and saw the leopard lying dead within a yard of me.
But now that I was comparatively safe, I could no longer bear my
situation, and drawing in a long breath, I sent forth a loud cry.  The
people were immediately around me, and perceived what had happened, with
the exception that the puff-adder had been my bed-fellow.

"The party consisted of my brother and three Hottentots.  These men had
informed him that they feared something had happened to me, from the
fact of my pony returning alone in the evening.  The whole party had
spoored me from the first kloof to where I lay.  The Hottentots, finding
the blood-spoor of the wounded leopard, feared that I had attacked him
again, and that he had killed me.

"They carried me on the boughs of trees, which they fastened together
with reims [strips of untanned leather], and at last managed to convey
me home.

"I was three months before I could move out of my bed, and all my
friends thought that I should die.

"Look at my arm! look at my shoulder, where the leopard's claws tore me;
the wounds were given thirteen years ago; see the scars even now!"
Saying which he bared his arm and shoulder, where the terrible marks
were yet apparent.

"When you come across a wounded leopard, you `_pas-op_,'" (take care),
was Hendrick's moral.

I thought over this story frequently during the night, and impressed on
my mind that I would always be careful of leopards; another instance
having occurred, in which a bombardier of artillery was much torn by a
wounded leopard close beside his barracks at Natal.  With the usual
bravery, but want of sporting skill, of the British soldier, he went
into the bush, armed with a sword to finish a leopard that had crawled
in badly wounded.  The savage animal sprang upon him, seized his hand,
and would have killed him, had not a fortunate shot from a civilian, who
had followed the soldier, laid the leopard low.  The loss of the use of
his hand was the only damage this man suffered, fortunately for him.

These Dutchmen seemed to think that the black rhinoceros was the most
formidable customer in South Africa.  The lion, which is considered in
England so far to exceed all other animals as dangerous game, did not
seem to be held in greater awe than either the rhinoceros or a solitary
old bull-buffalo.  The latter is sometimes sent from a herd by a
combination of young bulls, who, disliking his monopoly of the ladies,
combine, and turn him out; he then seeks some deep ravine, and buries
himself amongst the bushes.  He is always sly and vindictive, and will
suddenly rush out upon an intruder.  One of these brutes once sprang
upon a gallant friend of mine, tumbling horse and rider over with a
charge that came and was past in an instant.

The Boers gave very interesting accounts of the enormous herds of game
in the interior.  They acknowledged that a large herd of eland such as
we had seen was a fine sight, but said that the whole face of the
country covered for miles with a densely-packed body of blesbok,
bontebok, springbok, and wildebeest, was a still finer one.  They said
in that the great "trek-boken," or journey of the springbok, the numbers
were inconceivable; that they destroyed all the grass, leaving the plain
like a vast cattle-fold; that hundreds died from being in the rear, and
not getting anything to eat, while those in front were fat, but from
this very cause became at last lazy, and gradually fell in the rear, to
become thin in their turn, and again move to the front.



CHAPTER NINE.

BUSH-SHOOTING--SILENT WALKING--HOW TO COCK A GUN--HOW TO SIT DOWN--
DELIGHTS OF THE BUSH--HOW TO OBTAIN HONEY--THE HONEY-BIRD--THE GREY
MONKEY--BALL BETTER THAN SHOT--VARIETY OF BUSH GAME--HARDENING BULLETS--
THE ALLIGATOR--THE POUW--BOLDNESS OF THE EAGLE--THE OSPREY.

Silence and quietness are the two important acquirements for success in
bush-shooting, and a sharp look-out must also be kept on the surrounding
forest: the hunter must move like a ghost, and have his eyes everywhere.
Few understand what the term quiet walking means until they become
expert bush-rangers.

My careful follower, Inyovu, will now enter the bush with me in search
of buck.  We are not armed for elephants (that is, our guns are of too
small a calibre), so we keep a look-out for their fresh footprints, or
other traces, and immediately take care to avoid the animals.  Inyovu
has a gun to carry, more for his own satisfaction than use, as he is a
miserable shot, and requires a longer time to aim than an artilleryman
would take to lay a mortar.  From his professor-like skill, however, in
silent walking, he could, when sent out alone, often shoot and bring
home one of the three sort of bush-buck that frequented this region.
When he accompanied me, it was entirely for the purpose of carrying
anything that I might shoot.

The part chosen for this sport was generally the most open in the bush,
and the least crowded with underwood.  In time I had my separate beats,
and used to draw them as regularly as hounds draw their respective
covers.  Dress is a most important part in these excursions: the
trousers of the country, made of untanned leather, and termed crackers,
are very good; a long jacket of dark blue or green is better, but a dark
dull red is even more killing; the _veld-schoens_ (shoes) worn by the
Dutch are certainly far superior to any other boot or shoe I ever saw;
they are comfortable, soft, and silent, not unlike the mocassin.  Having
entered a few yards in the path chosen, which should be one well-worn by
the elephants, it is advisable to wait a few minutes and listen, to be
certain that all is going on right: the stealthy advance then commences.

The first thing to be done is to look where the foot that you are going
to advance can be placed.  If any dried sticks or leaves are in the way,
the greatest care must be taken, for the cracking or crushing of either
would alarm the bush for miles.  This may seem giving too much
importance to the matter; but the case is thus: the animals that live
here trust to their sense of hearing and smelling more than to their
sight; a slight collateral circumstance, if I may so term it, also
alarms their naturally suspicious nature.  A buck may be forty yards
from you unseen; your tread is heard; he takes the alarm, and bounds
off, giving, as he goes, that warning whistle that every bush-hunter
detests.  Others on his line of retreat take up the panic, and, for I
may say a mile at least, the crack caused by your incautious tread is,
as it were, telegraphed.  This watchfulness of the bucks, etc., easily
accounts for the _absence_ of game complained of by every tyro in
bush-shooting.  We will suppose that our advance has been conducted
without a cracking or crushing of leaves or sticks, and we come to a
branch which has been broken by elephants, and lies across the path.
Here we have a very tough customer.  If the branch is too low to creep
under, we must move cautiously over it, stepping carefully between the
small branches, and keeping our balance steadily on each leg in
succession--the slightest blunder here would be serious.  Another branch
merely bent across the path, and a few feet from the ground, is slowly
raised with one hand, while you pass under it; the next man behind
receives it, passes, and, if the last of the party, allows it to regain
its original position.  As this latter proceeding cannot be done without
a slight rustling of leaves, it is better to stand for two or three
minutes to allow any suspicion that may have been raised to be forgotten
by the animals near.  We now take a peep round, and get a better view by
stooping low down, the underwood and branches not being so thickly
leaved close to the ground.  Ah! something moved in that deep shadow;
now for the Kaffir's eyes; a signal with the finger, and Inyovu is on
his knees, head low, and looking at the suspicious object, which is
about fifty yards distant, partly hidden by the intervening stumps, and
indistinct in the gloom of the bush.  Inyovu, more by the movement of
his lips and the expression of his countenance than by words, indicates
it as _imponze_ (buck).  The gun, which for bush-work I always loaded
with ball, as more rapid in its killing powers, is now brought to full
cock, but not simply in the usual manner, for the click would be
instantly responded to by the darting off of the victim.  The cock must
be held tight with the thumb while the trigger is pulled back; the cock
then raised to the full, and trigger released: this is all done
silently.  The piece is now slowly raised, and the best place chosen
between the branches for the path of the bullet, as a little twig will
turn a ball.  During this examination and preparation the buck is
silently stealing away, lifting his legs high and slowly; a nice open
space is seen clear of brambles, and the previous silence is broken,
first by the report of the gun, and, secondly, by a "bah!" from the
moving animal: a rush is made to the spot, and a red bush-buck, about
the size of a roe-deer, but stouter, becomes the reward of the previous
precautions.  The usual operations are performed on him, and a slight
rest is taken.  For two people to sit down in the bush would be a very
simple thing, and liable to no mistake, we should imagine; but it is not
so.  Inyovu won't sit beside me on the old log, but, facing me, takes
his position.  "Why did you move, Inyovu?"

"Must not sit side by side in the bush; we only see half round.  Sit
face to face; you see one half, and I the other; then no animal
approaches without being seen."  After this caution, I never again made
such a cockney blunder with Kaffirs.  Two or three powerful doses of
snuff act like a glass of grog on my dark friend, and I find the
stimulating effect of a pinch on myself; the day is intensely hot, and
but little wind is stirring.  Inyovu remarks that we must not go further
down this path.  I heard a buck just blow the alarm, and he must have
"got our Wind."  The wind has changed a little, as, throwing some sand
in the air, he watched the light particles float away in the direction
that the path turned.  It now became a question of how much meat was
required, whether another buck was to pay tribute on that day.  Three
Kaffirs and four dogs to feed daily, besides a most infallible appetite
on the part of myself, consumed a large quantity of flesh.  If more
venison were required, our first buck would be concealed in the fork of
a tree, or other convenient place, to wait until called for; and the
same stealthy work carried on until a sufficiency was obtained, when we
would retrace our steps for those bucks that we had left hidden two or
three days.  A week can be passed in this way very pleasantly, for the
charm of the bush never wears away; the mystery is always the same.  The
hot winds that sometimes blow on the flat or open country are scarcely
felt under the sheltering branches; the heat of the sun is, in the bush,
only occasionally annoying, while the scent of the wild flowers gives a
most delicious perfume to the air.  The brilliant plumage of the birds
flashes occasionally across the path, and the busy, playful, little grey
monkey amuses you with his threatening grimaces.  The exercise also of
the faculties that this sort of amusement necessarily entails, I
believe, must lead to a higher state of health in both body and mind
than is likely to result from the acquaintance of strong tobacco and
brandy-and-water, that are sometimes the early companions of
"Nothing-to-do" gentlemen, who are condemned to pass a certain number of
days in the far south-east of Africa.  A tropical forest is a nosegay of
sweet-scented flowers; and as the traveller crushes a blossoming plant,
or his horse disturbs the position of the creeper-hung branches, his
course may long be traced by the extra perfume which these African weeds
then send forth.  Frequently, during my pursuit of wounded game, I have
stopped, and turned my attention from the blood-stained footprints,
which stir the savage half of man's nature, and have become almost
romantic, whilst regarding the grace and beauty of some vegetable gem,
adorned with flowers of dazzling brilliancy and leaves of luxuriant
growth.

My savage companions could not sympathise in the more refined feelings
thus brought out.  They could see but a "muti" (tree or plant), and, as
it was neither fit for food or physic, they were frequently disposed to
consider me weak for examining a plant that, although as dirt to the
savage, would still have obtained the prize at our best botanic fetes.
These barbarians could see nothing either to wonder at or to gratify
them in a simple flower, and, like many a white man, they considered
that, as it was not useful or good either for eating, drinking, or
physicking, it must necessarily be beneath the notice of a wise man.

The wild honey that was found in the bush was very delicious.  It was
taken from the owners in the coolest manner; coolness, in fact, being
the best defence.

While walking with my Kaffir, he would suddenly look up with a very
knowing expression, and the usual "ether," indicative of a satisfactory
discovery; this discovery perhaps being nothing more than a common bee.
It would be alarmed, and its line of flight watched; we would follow the
direction that it took, and then look out for another bee; and so on
until we were led up to the hive, which was generally situated in a
hollow tree.  The Kaffir then, gently inserting his arm, seizes hold of
a large piece of the comb, and quietly withdraws his hand; he then walks
quietly away a few yards with his prize.  The bees, of course, fly all
round him, and settle on his face and shoulders; he does not attempt to
drive them off, but waits until they leave him.  He then pouches the
honey, wax, and eggs, and goes again to the hive to repeat the
performance.  If any of the bees get a squeeze with the hand or arm,
they give a peculiar buzz, which seems to intimate to all other bees
that they are to attack the intruders.  Once on taking a bees'-nest, I
was severely stung; they came and settled round my eyes, and I could
with difficulty beat them off, and make my escape: it was all owing to
my having squeezed a bee by accident as I was getting out the honey.
Their stings, however, are not so severe as the English bee, as I
suffered but little from these numerous stings.  The middle of the day
is generally chosen for taking a bees'-nest, as fewer are then at home.

Sometimes the position of a beehive is discovered by the aid of a
honey-bird.  This little creature appears to have sense beyond its
feathered brethren; it apparently calls the traveller, and indicates
that it wishes him to follow it, uttering perpetually a peculiar note,
and flying from tree to tree, until it reaches the vicinity of the hive,
when it gives a grand chorus of chirps.  This useful little creature is,
of course, rewarded with a share of the honey, and has the pickings from
the hollow tree besides.

One frequently met numbers of the little grey monkeys in the bush.
These mercurial little creatures are very amusing, and I often thought
that they must have great fun with the elephants, the old-fashioned
staid character of the latter being just the sort of butt that monkeys
would choose upon which to play their practical jokes.  A monkey can
jump on and off an elephant's back with very little fear of
consequences, thanks to his wonderful activity; or can pull a tail or an
ear, with but little chance of meeting punishment from the powerful
trunk.  I consider these monkeys as the regular and acknowledged
harlequins of the bush, and never could bear the idea of shooting at
one.  I frequently had disputes with my Kaffirs on this subject, as they
would get into a great state of excitement if there were a good chance
of knocking over a monkey; the skin, when converted into long strips,
being a very fashionable article to wear round the waist or ankles.

I made a very good double shot on one occasion, by which I killed a buck
and doe of the black bush-buck.  I obtained a snap shot at the buck as
he was bounding over a bush, and dropped him; the lady came back to peep
at what had detained her good man, and suffered for her curiosity.  I
was much in want of meat at the time for my Kaffirs and dogs, or would
have spared _her_.

In both these instances I found the advantage of using a bullet in place
of shot, both animals dropping dead at once.  If shot is used, at least
half the bucks wounded escape for the time, and die miserably in some
dark part of the forest, a feast for wolves and jackals.  With a
bullet-wound they rarely travel far, if hit anywhere about the shoulder.

Really one never tires of the forest-life, there is pleasure in even
walking through its paths, made as they are by the African elephantine
McAdam, and merely looking at the trees and shrubs, each and every one
of which would be a gem in England.  It is a conservatory on a
Brobdignagian scale.  Then, to a sportsman, there is the excitement: At
which shall we have the first shot, a buck or an elephant, a buffalo or
a guinea-fowl? or shall we walk the whole day and see nothing but a
poisonous snake, wriggling away in the dead leaves?  There is always
something here to be seen that is interesting from viewing it in its
natural state.  The manis is frequently found in the bush; lots of
little creatures, like weasels, and birds of most brilliant plumage.
There may be no accounting for taste, but I would rather walk through an
African forest than either up Cheapside, or even Regent-Street: the one
is all real and true, the other artificial and in great part false, if
we are to believe the chemical tests by which most of our groceries have
so lately been exposed.

Twice in the Natal bush, and once across the Umganie, I killed three
bucks in one day.  When across the Umganie, I shot the first as he was
in the open ground, and knocked him over with a bullet as he was
running; the other two I killed in the bush.  Monyosi's brother was with
me, and it was hard work carrying the venison home.  A curious thing
happened with one of the bucks that I killed on this same day.  It heard
us coming, but did not know exactly where we were, and jumped into the
path about ten yards in front of me.  I gave it a raking shot, to which
it fell, but got up again, and was going away on three legs, when I
dropped it with a bullet in the neck.  I was much surprised that it rose
after being struck with the first bullet, which ought to have gone right
through it, and to have come out in the buck's chest.  I looked for the
two bullet-holes, and saw but one.  Upon opening it, the mystery was
solved,--the bullet had broken against a bone, and was in a dozen
pieces.  For this fracturing I accounted by my attempt to harden the
bullets for elephant-shooting by adding tin to the lead, and the tin,
being the lighter metal, had floated to the surface of the lead, and
some of my first bullets had been cast of nearly pure tin, instead of
the right composition, and therefore were as brittle as glass.  The
right hardness is when the teeth can only just leave the least mark on
the bullet: this gives about one-eighth tin as the right mixture.

My two Kaffirs returning with me one day to the Umganie Drift, we found
the tide up, and the water consequently too deep to get across: it was
about five feet in the deepest part.  _This_ would not have prevented us
from wading, as there was not much current running, and no sea on; but
as great numbers of hungry sharks were on one side, and alligators on
the other, we did not like to venture, the breadth being nearly two
hundred yards.  The alligator is a very unpleasant customer if you are
in the water.  An accident happened at the Drift, about two miles from
the mouth of the Umganie, to an Englishman, a very worthy settler.  He
lived in a little cottage across the river, and was returning one
evening with a supply of fresh meat, which he carried with his clothes
over his head: the water was about breast-high.  Suddenly, when about
the middle of the river, he was seized round the waist by the jaws of an
alligator.  He dropped his meat, and caught hold of the animal's head,
calling at the same time to a Kaffir who was near.  It was either the
shout or the seizing that frightened the creature, for it let go its
hold, and the poor man reached the opposite side of the river, where he
fainted.  The wounds he had received were very severe; he was three
months before he could move about, and never again seemed the same man
that he was before this mangling.  I often saw an old Kaffir, near the
Umganie, who had nearly the whole fleshy part of the thigh torn off by
an alligator as he was one day crossing the river.  My days and evenings
of patient watching were not rewarded by a shot at this rapacious brute.

The alligator often devours its prey as it comes to drink.  Slowly
approaching some unsuspecting animal, it seizes it by the nose, and
drags it under water; the weight of the alligator prevents the animal
from raising its head; it is in consequence soon suffocated, and is
dragged to a convenient retired place until required, or sufficiently
high to suit the Epicurean taste of this scaly monster.

Besides the animals that I have already particularly mentioned, very
good sport could be had with wild fowl of different kinds,--partridges,
guinea-fowl, pheasants, and bustard.  The large description of the
latter, called by the colonists the _pouw_, is a magnificent bird, and
is considered a great delicacy for the table.  They have been shot
weighing about twenty or thirty pounds.  They walk about the newly-burnt
grass picking up the fried worms and other animals brought to light by
the fire.  These birds being very difficult to approach, I generally
rode round and round them, commencing my circle from a long distance,
and gradually narrowing it, taking care, however, not to look at the
birds.  They are so keen-sighted, that, were you to look fixedly at
them, even when distant, they would immediately fly away; whereas, if
they consider that you do not see them, they will crouch down their
heads and remain perfectly still, letting you circle up to them.  Having
always one barrel loaded with ball and the other with buckshot for this
work, I was ready to take a long shot with the bullet, if there was any
appearance of the birds taking an early flight.  If, however, no signs
of impatience were shown, and the _pouw_ tried the hiding dodge, the
plan was to get within eighty or one hundred yards, dismount, and run in
towards the birds: they could not rise very quickly, and a dose of
buckshot, as they opened their wings, was generally effective in
stopping them.

Upon wounding a young _pouw_ one day, as I was riding home, I was
opposed by a rival sporting gentleman, in the shape of an eagle.  The
_pouw_ rose nearly under my horse's feet, but, as I was cantering, he
got some distance off before I could pull up and fire; the dropping of
both hind-legs told a tale of mortal wounds, and he sailed steadily down
to a little clump of bushes.  His unfortunate condition had not escaped
the all-observant eye of a hungry eagle, who was sailing about over me;
nearly closing his wings, he dashed after the _pouw_, caught him before
he reached the ground, and flew away with him.  To see one's dinner thus
walked off with was too much to bear quietly.  I therefore galloped
after the robber, who soon came to the ground, finding that the weight
of his burden did not assist his aerial performances.  I reached to
within a hundred yards of him, when he again rose; taking a steady aim
at him, I fired, and sent the bullet sufficiently close to astonish him,
as he instantly dropped my property, and made off, leaving me in quiet
possession.

There are a great many varieties of the eagle and hawk tribe in South
Africa; some specimens are very small, others magnificent fellows.  The
wild, shrill scream of the osprey, or sea-eagle, always struck me as
being very characteristic of this bird; there is a defiant and bold sort
of sound in his voice, heard so plainly, while he, thousands of feet
high, is almost, if not quite, invisible to the eye.  Then coming down
suddenly, like a bolt from heaven, he pounces on some victim, whom he
clutches in his talons, and again soars aloft with a triumphant piercing
shriek.  I obtained a fine fresh mullet, on one occasion, from one of
these feathered fishermen, whom I saw passing high overhead with his
prize.  I sent a bullet whistling by his ear, which made him drop the
fish; it came down with a loud bang on the grass, and was still alive
when I picked it up.  The osprey sailed round two or three times, as
though regretting the loss of such a good supper, and retraced his
aerial course for another victim.



CHAPTER TEN.

A SHOOTING-PARTY IN THE BUSH--ELEPHANT "SIGN"--THE ELEPHANTS HEARD--
CAUTION IN THE BUSH--APPROACH TO A WARY ELEPHANT--THE BETTER PART OF
VALOUR--TRACES OF THE WOUNDED ELEPHANT--SIC VOS NON VOBIS--ACUTE EAR OF
ELEPHANTS--THE ELEPHANTS' SIGNALS--MORE OF THEM--TREE'D--TEACHING THE
YOUNG IDEA--A FAMILY PICTURE--CHAFFED BY MONKEYS--A SHARP LOOKOUT--THE
DISADVANTAGE OF "CRACKERS"--A KAFFIR COWARD--CAPRICIOUS TEMPER OF
ELEPHANTS--ELEPHANTS IN THE "OPEN"--AN AWKWARD POSITION--SHARP PRACTICE.

On one of those beautiful mornings that are met with in or near the
tropics, a light westerly wind blowing, we started for some small pools
of water, distant about three miles from the town of D'Urban.  The party
consisted of myself and two Kaffirs.  I had on a small straw hat, well
browned, a dark blue flannel shirt, and a pair of the untanned leather
breeches of the country, denominated crackers.  The "_veld-schoens_"
(field shoes), similar to those worn by the Dutch boers, are much better
than boots, as they are comfortable, soft, easy, and very silent.  A
long dark green jacket, fitting loosely, and covered with pockets, was
my only other article of raiment.  This was my favourite costume for the
bush, and one that I had found particularly difficult to be
distinguished when surrounded by the thick underwood and gloom of the
overhanging trees.

My two Kaffirs had each a powder-horn and bullet-pouch hung over their
shoulders, a necklace of charmed woods, and a small piece of buckskin of
about a foot in length by six inches broad, hung before and behind from
a thin strip of leather made fast round their waists.  They were not
encumbered with more attire, a snuff-box made from a hollow reed, and
placed through a hole in their ears, completing their equipment.

I had given one of these men (Inyovu, my Kaffir servant) my
double-barrelled gun, Monyosi having his own old single-barrelled
musket, while I was armed with a single rifle, carrying a
two-and-a-half-ounce ball.

On arriving at the holes that had contained the water, we found them a
mass of black mud, the surrounding grass being trodden down and daubed
over with it.  The trunks of the trees were plastered with mud to the
height of ten or twelve feet, on account of the elephants having enjoyed
a good scrub against them after their wallow.

Monyosi was called upon to state at what time the elephants had rolled
and cleaned themselves at this place.  "_Uku sasa namhla_," is at once
decided upon by all of us.  There was no doubt about its being "at
daybreak on that day."

The footmarks on the mud had not had a drop of dew on them; those on the
sand under the trees had one or two drops only, that had evidently been
shaken from the branches by the troop in passing.  The mud that was on
the stems of the trees was wet, with the exception of some very thin
patches, where the sun had dried it.  The leaves that hung on the broken
branches had not yet begun to droop, whilst the fractured limb was still
quite wet from the sap; the grass that had been trodden down was also
fresh and moist; and by these signs we at once knew that at daybreak the
troop of elephants had paid this spot a visit.

Two or three very large circular impressions in the mud indicated the
presence of bulls, while the oval and small ones showed us signs of cow
and calf elephants.

The elephants had wandered about outside the bush for some time; they
had then entered, and walked on in Indian file to the deep and gloomy
recesses of the forest.

The path that the elephants had made was not nearly so large as would be
expected; it would have been impossible to have ridden a horse along it
even a few yards.

We entered on their footsteps, Monyosi leading the spoor; we advanced
with the usual slow, noiseless tread, with occasional rests of five or
ten minutes, for the purpose of listening.  This latter performance is
tiresome to the impatient hunter, but most essential.

Listening is the only certain means of discovering the presence of
elephants, as they will frequently stand for hours, in perfect
stillness, especially on a calm hot day, and when the bush affords them
a secure and cool cover.

The rumbling noise in their vast interior they cannot keep quiet: this
sounds like bubbles coming up in water, and is sure to be heard every
five or ten minutes on a still day, even when at a hundred yards'
distance.

We had proceeded about two miles on their traces, and had entered the
densest part of the forest, when we heard this noise, and at once sat
down to listen, to find out all about them.

One's senses become wonderfully acute when much employed at this sort of
work, but still they are far inferior to those of the animals which are
being pursued.

You move with great caution, and apparently very quietly through the
dark avenues that the elephant has made for you; yet, upon getting a
peep at the branches of a far-distant tree, twenty or thirty monkeys are
to be seen watching you, and skipping about from branch to branch, as
though in derision of your unskilful attempt at a surprise.  The single
note repeatedly and slowly uttered by some hermit-like bird, suddenly
ceases as you come within a hundred yards of him, and he flits away
under the arches of the forest, his brilliant plumage glittering in the
sun.  These, and many other facts, intimate that man's faculties are
dull and imperfect, in comparison with those of the animals which live
in these mysterious regions.

When you know that the giant of the forest is not inferior in either the
sense of smell or hearing to any animal in creation, and has, besides,
intelligence enough to know that you are his enemy, and also for what
you have come, it becomes a matter of great care how, when, and where to
approach him.

"They must never know you are coming, and have time to make a plan," was
the advice of a famous elephant-hunter.  I carried it out on all
possible occasions.

We continued our advance till we were within a hundred yards of the
elephant that we had first heard.  We sat down and listened for some
minutes to discover if any others were near, as it would have been
injudicious to make an attack on this one, and thereby stand a chance of
having our retreat cut off by any other elephant that might be nearer.
We discovered no others very close, but the snapping of branches in the
distance occasionally showed that our purposed victim was not without
company.  Throwing up some sand, we found the wind was favourable for
our advance, although the eddies that are always met in the bash
rendered it advisable to move on with as much quickness as was
consistent with silence.

Our advance, although conducted with the same stealth that marks the
movement of a cat towards its prey, was still not sufficiently inaudible
to escape the refined senses of the elephant.  He ceased feeding, and
remained for some minutes like a statue.  A novice would have laughed
had he been told that a wild elephant of twelve feet high was within a
few yards of him; the only indication the animal gave of his presence
was a slight blowing through the trunk as the unsavoury flavour of my
warm Kaffirs was wafted to his sensitive olfactories, or as a dried
stick cracked under his spongy feet.  The density of the underwood,
which was caused by the festoons of wild vine and creepers, prevented
our seeing more than a yard or two in many parts; and though the
branches directly over us were shaken by the movement of the monster's
body, yet we could make out nothing but a dark mass of bush: to have
fired thus, therefore, would have been folly.  Monyosi had frequently
eaten little bits of his charmed wood: I dared not speak to ask him its
specific, but I afterwards learnt it was infallible as a preventive
against injury from wild beasts.  My own man, Inyovu, was as pale as a
black man could be, and his whole frame appeared to suffer much from
cold.  I dare say, had I counted my own pulse, I should have found it
quicker than usual.

The elephant's patience was the first to be exhausted: with a
half-growl, half-trumpet, he forced himself through the tangled
brushwood towards us.  He came in sight so close to me, that the muzzle
of my rifle was considerably elevated when I fired.  With a turn and
rush that a harlequin might have envied, I soon got over a hundred
yards, the line to run having been determined on previous to firing.  It
would not have been wise to stay and look if one were being pursued; run
first, and look afterwards, was the approved plan.  It is a poor sort of
courage, that fears taking precautions, lest its truth should be
questioned.

There was a crash somewhere behind me as I ran, but I could not tell in
which direction; seeing, therefore, that I was likely to come against
others of the herd if I continued my retreat, I took up a position with
my Kaffirs beside a large thick tree, and proceeded to load my rifle,
which I did not accomplish without a reproof from Monyosi for ramming
down the charge whilst the butt of the gun was on the ground.

We could now hear the troop of elephants rapidly retreating through the
forest.  The loud crashing of the thick branches showed the alarming
sound of a rifle had caused a headlong rush to be made, that sounded
like a rolling fire of musketry.

We did not give them much time to get away, but followed at once to the
spot from which I had fired.  I had no hope that my elephant would be
dead; I knew the tough constitution of these animals too well.  I was
disappointed, however, at finding no blood, none appearing for the first
few yards; I began to think that, by some strange chance, I had missed
him.  We soon, however, saw two or three drops of blood, and then more;
at length it lay about as though poured from a pail.  Both my Kaffirs
were delighted, and exclaimed that we _must_ get him.  I had not much
hope of so satisfactory a result, having made many a weary journey
without success after other elephants quite as badly wounded as this.
Monyosi followed the spoor with great accuracy; he had taken the
dimensions of the feet of the wounded animal, and could therefore
recognise the prints on every doubtful occasion.

We had followed about two miles in this way, when we heard a loud crash
in advance of us.  Approaching carefully in the direction, I caught a
glimpse of an elephant some forty yards distant, standing in a little
open space.  Aiming at his shoulder, I at once gave him the benefit of
my heavy rifle.  I stooped under the smoke to see if he had fallen, but
saw him rush away.  I was turning round to join my Kaffirs, who had
fallen back a few yards, when the bushes almost close to me were
violently shaken, and the elephant that I had first wounded shuffled out
into the path up which we had just come.  He was not ten yards from me,
and my only chance of escaping detection was by remaining perfectly
still.  He did not seem to notice me, but to have been attracted by the
rich flavour of my Kaffirs.  He heard their rapid retreat, and charged
after them; of which movement I immediately took advantage, and slipped
off in a contrary direction.  My rifle was soon loaded, and I was then
more ready for another encounter.

I was anxious to discover what had become of my Kaffirs,--not that I had
much fear for them, each could be trusted alone; but I wanted to have
the benefit of their advice as to our proceedings.

I dared not stay where I then was, however, as several of the herd were
now trumpeting furiously, and kept slowly approaching the spot from
whence I had fired.  They had evidently recovered from their first
fright, and had determined to drive away their persecutors.  I therefore
retreated a couple of hundred yards, and gave three slow whistles, my
usual bush-signal, which was instantly answered a short distance from
me.

Upon consulting, neither of the Kaffirs would hear of again approaching
the troop, saying that the elephants knew of our presence now, and were
too savage.  I began to think so, and therefore reluctantly withdrew to
the outside of the forest.

On the next day Monyosi followed the spoor of the two that I had
wounded, but failed in coming up with them.

About a week after this adventure, two Kaffirs, who I knew never did
shoot, came to me with a pair of elephant's tusks to sell: they said
that they had found them in the bush; but, upon noticing that I was
anxious to know where this discovery was made, they denied having found
them themselves, but said another Kaffir had done so.  From what I
afterwards ascertained, I am certain that those teeth belonged to one of
the elephants I had wounded on the day which I have just mentioned.

Soon after this affair, the herd left the Berea bush, and moved several
miles up the coast.  I then again took up the bush-buck shooting, at
which capital sport could now be had, as the elephants had made so many
paths, and trodden down so much of the underwood, that one's progress
could be made with less noise, and in consequence seven or eight fair
chances at buck could be had in a day.

One or two more accounts of the giant game of Africa may perhaps be
excused.

I have before spoken of the acuteness of the elephant's hearing, and I
had a very good proof of it on the occasion that I will now mention.

As I was making my rounds one afternoon on horseback, I heard the crack
of a broken branch some distance up a path that led to a flagstaff on
the top of the Berea.  I knew at once that the noise was caused by some
elephants browsing; I therefore left my horse outside the bush, that I
might proceed quite quietly, and walked up this road for half a mile to
an open space of about an acre, from which I had a fine view all round.
I soon discovered that a large herd of elephants were in the hollow just
below the rising ground on which I was standing, and they appeared to be
working up to the position from which I was looking out for them.  I was
well to leeward of the herd, and had taken up my position with
praiseworthy silence, and at about sixty yards from the edge of the
dense cover.  I kept at this distance to avoid any eddies of wind that
might otherwise have carried to the elephants the knowledge of my
presence: there was a breeze blowing, so I did not fear the animals
getting my wind.  I had waited patiently for more than half an hour,
watching for a shot, and could see several of the top branches of the
trees shaken by the elephants which were feeding; some were within
thirty yards of the edge of the bush, while several others were
scattered about at different distances.  I did not feel inclined to
enter the bush, as it was so dense, therefore very dangerous; and I
hoped to have a good view of the game in the open.  Suddenly, and
without any apparent reason, an elephant, which was feeding at about two
hundred yards from me, gave a trumpet of alarm.  This warning-note I had
frequently heard, and had often been surprised at the code of signals
that these sagacious animals seemed to have.  I knew that this note had
not been blown without good cause; the well-trained herd instantly
ceased feeding, and remained without the slightest noise for nearly a
minute, when they all appeared to have made themselves acquainted with
the cause of alarm, as they walked away rapidly in the bush, blowing
through their trunks, and making the branches crack in their passage.  I
could not make out for what all this was done, but listened carefully
for some time, and heard nothing that should have caused alarm.

After waiting some minutes, I was about to return to my horse, when I
heard voices, and soon after saw two men of the Cape corps, who were
half-drunk and riding up the road at a slow trot.  They asked me "if
this was the way to Pietermaritzburg?"  Feeling very angry at being thus
disturbed, I told them to listen to the elephants which were getting
ready to charge; they stopped for an instant, when, hearing the snapping
of the branches caused by the elephants' retreat, which was still
audible, they muttered an oath in Dutch, turned their horses round, and
dashed down the road, too late, however, for my satisfaction, as they
had effectually spoiled my chance of a shot in the open.

These men must have been heard by the elephants when nearly half a mile
distant, and fully five minutes before I could note the slightest sound
of their approach.

I had been to lunch on wild honey one morning in the Berea with my
Kaffir Inyovu, when he suddenly called my attention to the sound of a
broken branch at some distance: we both knew that the noise was caused
by elephants.  I wiped my honeyed hands and walked through the forest;
we shortly came on the fresh spoor of some cow-elephants, which were
attended by their calves.  The traces were very recent, as some branches
and grass that the animals had placed their feet upon, had not yet
ceased springing up to regain the original position.

There was very little wind blowing, but what there was unfortunately
blew from us to the position which the elephants occupied.  There was no
help for it, so I determined to approach them under these unfavourable
conditions.  About fifty yards from where I guessed the elephants were
standing, the underwood was very thick.  I pushed on carefully and
quietly, but soon found that these sagacious creatures knew all about my
approach.  They shook the branches, grumbled, and trumpeted, as though
they really meant mischief.  I certainly was not game to go in at them
here, as I could not tell in some places, had an elephant been within
five feet of me.

About twenty paces from this dense part, I had noticed, in passing, a
large tree and an open space around it: from the branches of the tree
the wild vine hung in thick clusters.  I thought that if I mounted into
this tree I might have a view of some stray elephant, and therefore be
able to approach him with more certainty and get a safer shot at him.  I
walked back, and placing my gun against the stem of the tree, caught
hold of the vine and hauled myself up into the branches; I purposed
looking round first, and then getting my guns up.  No sooner was I up
aloft, than Inyovu, who seemed to think it rather lonely being left
down, placed his gun beside mine, and followed me into the tree.

As I could not see any elephants by carefully scanning the surrounding
bush, I was thinking about descending when a rustling amongst the
underwood at a few yards' distance attracted my attention.

Suddenly a cow-elephant made her appearance.  She was not very large,
but I at once saw that she was destitute of teeth, and was of the class
that the Boers had told me were the most savage in a herd.  She stuck
her ears out on each side of her head, and twisted her trunk about as
though smelling every breath of air.  She then came a few yards
forwards, and gave a little scream; this seemed to be a sort of call,
that was immediately answered by a small bull-elephant, which came
shuffling along with an old-fashioned look of intelligence, and ran in
front of his mamma.  He stood a little while with an air of wisdom, as
though to intimate, that although young and small, he was still quite up
to everything, and could teach his mother many a "neat plant:"--he
looked a most precocious young elephant.  Presently he advanced a few
yards, and swung his trunk about over the footprints of the Kaffir,
whose naked feet, I imagine, left a better scent than my
"_veld-schoens_."  Young elephant then screwed up his trunk, and twisted
it in the air, with an expression as much as to say, "Now, really, this
is a dreadfully bad smell."  During all this time we remained perfectly
still in the tree, and the elephants, trusting but little to their
sight, and not expecting their enemies to be up aloft, had not noticed
us.

The young one was evidently much admired by his mamma, and continued
following our footsteps to the end of our walk, and to where we had
stood for a short time, and then returned: there he was at fault, and
could not make things out at all.

I had remained perfectly still during this performance, as I did not
wish the elephants to know that I was up the tree.  Had they gone near
the guns, I should at once have tried the effect of an English yell,
with a second shout from my Kaffir; but Inyovu, beginning to be alarmed,
tried to get higher up the tree.  I felt convinced that we were quite
safe, as the branch on which we were standing was at least twenty-five
feet from the ground, and was also very stout.

The noise that my Kaffir made in mounting higher seemed to puzzle the
elephants; they twisted round, flapped their ears about, and turned the
muzzle of their trunks in every direction.  My attention had been so
taken up with the two elephants that I have mentioned, that I had not
noticed a large bull which had approached from the other side to watch
proceedings.  A slight noise that he made drew my attention to him,
when, on viewing his gigantic ivories, I became ambitious, and could not
resist the temptation of trying to get to my guns to obtain a shot.  I
caught hold of the wild vine, and was swinging myself down, when the
noise that I necessarily made seemed to alarm the elephants.  The old
lady gave two or three grunts, which recalled her hopeful child, and
they all waddled off in the most absurd manner.  It was a very pretty
family picture.

The elephant has always seemed to me a most grotesque animal; the
old-fashioned appearance of the young ones, and the awkward gait of all,
with that absurd look as though their skins were second-hand and did not
fit; the action of the hind-legs, like an old man's strut with a pair of
breeches on that are far too big, tend to make them look ridiculous; and
yet, withal, they walk about as though they considered themselves the
complete mould of fashion.

I reached the ground only just in time to see the elephants'
hind-quarters twist about behind a bush, waited a few minutes below the
tree to see if either of the three would return; but hearing nothing, I
got my two guns up the tree with the help of my Kaffir, and patiently
waited there, in the hope that the elephants would return for another
inspection.  Had I been fortunate enough to have taken my guns up with
me at first, I could have easily dropped one of these elephants dead, as
their backbones were within twenty yards of me, and a heavy bullet
driven down near the vertebrae would have humbled the proudest elephant
in Africa.

I had not the slightest idea when I first ascended the tree that any
elephant would have come out into this open in search of me; and
climbing up a bit of vine being difficult while holding a gun, I waited
until I should see some black backs that might indicate the position of
the elephants before I hauled up my artillery; thus, however, I lost
this splendid chance.

After sitting patiently for upwards of an hour, and hearing nothing more
of the animals or even a sound of their presence, I gave up the idea of
waiting for them, and was making preparations for a descent, when I saw
the top branches of some small trees a few yards distant begin to shake
very violently.  I cocked my gun, and was quite ready for a
bull-elephant, when I saw, to my great disappointment, that the
disturbance was caused by two or three little grey monkeys, that were
jumping about, and had evidently come to have a joke with me.  They
looked up into our free with a very revere sort of critical expression;
made several faces and two or three short bows; scratched their sides
vigorously, and jumped from bough to bough until out of sight.

To show the attention that is sometimes paid to trifling matters in
bush-ranging, I will give another day's sport with Monyosi in the Berea.

We had gone in after elephants, and were on their spoor of the previous
night.  There had been a great deal of listening and peeping, as the day
was so warm that we expected the elephants would be clustered together
in some shady glen, and would not move until we were right upon them.
As we were seated, listening, Monyosi suddenly looked up attentively at
a tree near us, and seemed to think that all was not as it should be.  I
asked him what was wrong, when he said he did not know, but that a bird
had flown to a tree near us, stayed a little while, and had then gone
away.  By the manner in which it had hopped about, he could see that it
was alarmed at something; and it would not have flown towards us, had
its flight been occasioned by our noise.  I thought the cause a slight
one; but still, it is the dust, not the rock, that indicates the wind's
direction.  Monyosi did not seem easy, but proposed that we should
proceed in the direction from whence the bird had approached us.  We did
so, and after one hundred yards sat down to listen.  Presently a very
slight crack of a branch or bit of stick caused our guns to be raised to
full cock, and we to peep about between the branches for a sight at
whatever it might be.  The game was very cunning, and for full two
minutes there was not a move on either side; our patience, however, was
the greater, as we soon heard two or three light steps from the
suspicions quarter.  I saw a smile on Monyosi's face; he uncocked his
gun, and gave a low whistle, which was responded to by another in the
bush a few yards distant.  Soon after, a young English lad, born and
bred in the colony, and two Kaffirs, all three armed with guns, came
quietly up to us.  I knew the boy, and he informed me that he was after
the elephants, but, hearing our approach, could not make us out; he
thought that he caught a glimpse of something rather red, which was
really my untanned leather breeches, and that he fancied it was a
red-buck; but the glance was so slight, that he could not be quite
certain.  He consoled me, however, by saying "he should not have fired
at me unless he knew that the elephants were a long way off."  We had
stood listening one to the other for about three minutes, and the bird
that flew past had given the alarm to Monyosi.

How would some of my friends compete in war singly with black men like
this?  But fancy one hundred such against perhaps twenty young soldiers
inexperienced in the colonial cunning, and laughing contemptuously at
the black niggers to whom they are going to give a licking!  Many
bleached skulls, that do not require one to have the science of
Professor Owen to know that they were once tenanted by a spirit
recognised in this world as a white man, might tell what was the result
of carelessness, and underrating the enemy, and perhaps a little
overrating one's own skill.

We joined the party which we had met in the bush, and together followed
the spoor.  I now witnessed one of the rare cases of downright cowardice
in a Kaffir.  One of this English lad's Kaffirs was a very good hand
after buck, but did not aspire to anything more.  As we neared the
elephants, and heard their rumbling, this black cur shook as though he
had an ague, and said he would not go any farther.  The English boy told
him if he went away he would only have one shot at him, but that he
generally drove a bullet pretty straight.  This argument the Kaffir
seemed to consider a very convincing one, as he kept on with us.  The
elephants were on the move when we came upon them, and a young bull was
quietly walking up a path directly towards us, with a branch held in his
trunk.  My white companion recommended me not to fire; but, seeing the
elephant's shoulder, I sent my two-ounce bullet into it.  I turned and
ran, but found, after a dozen yards, that the coward Kaffir was in my
way.  He did not know exactly what to do, and was not moving at that
rapid pace which I always considered advisable after wounding an
elephant in this dense forest.  A bundle of charmed woods was hung round
this Kaffir's neck, thick enough to have saved the whole Zulu nation for
evermore from savage elephants or hungry lions.  Feeling indisposed to
jog on behind him, I caught hold of this necklace, which was the only
article of attire that he wore, and dragged him back, at the same time
slipping in front of him.  As I passed him, he turned round with horror
depicted in his face, and wildness in his eyes.  He just called out,
"_Bulula, bulula_!"  (Shoot, shoot!) and then came after me: he thought
my hand had been the elephant's trunk, and that he was nearly a gone
Kaffir.  I managed to get a long thorn deep into my knee during my run,
which caused such pain that I could not proceed on the spoor.  I went a
little way, and saw plenty of blood, but gave up the search to the
English lad and his two Kaffirs, whilst I with difficulty reached home.
I never heard what was the result of the pursuit,--whether they found
and killed, or lost.  I was lame for nearly three weeks afterwards, as
the thorn was poisonous.

The temper of the elephant seems to fluctuate in even a greater degree
than that of man.  Sometimes a herd are unapproachable from savageness,
at others they are the greatest "curs" in creation.  I had received so
many warnings from the elephants frequenting the Natal bush--elephants,
as I before remarked, particularly savage, from knowing the strength of
their jungle, that I used every precaution in approaching them, and
always acted as though a fierce and determined charge were to follow the
report of my gun.  I believe that I frequently ran a hundred yards after
firing, when there was no occasion for doing so; but I am convinced that
on one or two occasions this little exercise saved me from feeling the
weight of an elephant's foot.

Being across the Umganie with Monyosi and his dog one day in search of
buck, I found the elephants in very bad "fettle."  We had been sitting
under a tree in a little open glade in the centre of the bush, and
Monyosi was relating some of his adventures while in the Pongola
country, elephant-shooting, he having lately returned from this trip.

In the centre of this glade there was a pond of water that the elephants
frequently used for a bath, or to drink from.  We had seen no fresh
traces of either buffalo or other large game for some days, and in
consequence we supposed they had journeyed up the coast for a change.

I had brought a small double-barrelled gun, instead of the heavy rifle
that I should have used had I expected elephants; whilst Monyosi had his
old ship's musket.

Suddenly there was a great cracking in the bush, and we both jumped on
our feet; the branches seemed all alive, shaking and cracking as though
a hurricane were blowing.

We eagerly watched for an explanation, although, both being pretty well
up to "sign," we guessed that the disturbance was caused by elephants.

At about fifty yards from us the first giant broke cover; he came out
very quickly, gave a grumble, and ran down to the water, giving a shrill
scream as he reached it.  This was apparently a signal to others that
all was right, as they came out of the bush immediately: at least forty
elephants were in "the open" at one time; some were large fellows,
whilst others were only babies by comparison.  Two or three of them, on
coming to the water, lay down in the mud and rolled, whilst a big
bull-elephant sent the water from his trunk in streams over his body.

We watched them a minute or so, to see what they would do, when Monyosi
by accident let go his dog, he having with difficulty held him tight
since the appearance of the herd.  The cur immediately ran down and
barked at the elephants, whereupon they turned round and rushed towards
the bush which they had just left.  I aimed at a large bull, taking the
spot between the eye and the ear as my target: I heard the bullet
strike, and then gave him a second shot on the shoulder.  The distance
was about seventy yards, and my gun a fourteen-bore.  This latter
circumstance was of course a great drawback, still, however, I expected
some notice to be taken of the two wounds; but the elephant never shook
his head.  Coiling up his trunk, he charged straight into the forest,
followed by the whole herd, crushing and smashing all before them, like
a parcel of runaway railway-engines.  Monyosi told me afterwards that it
was fortunate none of the herd had charged us, as there was so little
cover that we might very probably have got the worst of a hand-to-trunk
fight.  This Kaffir always pleased me very much by the manner in which
he spoored; I could safely trust him on the spoor, and he would follow
with the accuracy of a bloodhound.  Several of the men whom I employed
would often go wrong, and lose the footmarks of some particular animal
in a herd, and thereby cause considerable delay.

On one occasion I was in a very awkward position with a troop of
elephants.

I had left my horse to graze, and was walking round the bush, near some
deserted Kaffir gardens.  I was searching for buck, and had no idea of
elephants being near.  A fine black bush-buck gave me a chance, and I
fired at him; he bolted away into the bush, and I followed.  There was
only one elephant-path, and it was so overgrown and blocked up that I
could with difficulty force my way along it.  I kept a good lookout for
the buck's spoor, which I followed for about a quarter of a mile into
the bush, when I suddenly heard an elephant move close to me.  I lay
down on the ground to try and get a glimpse of him, and soon saw a whole
string of elephants moving along very quickly, distant about sixty
yards.  I knew at once, by their way of moving, that they were after me,
either from curiosity or rage.  My shot at the buck had made them
acquainted with my presence.  They seemed to be moving round so as to
cross my footsteps, and thus to block up the only path by which I could
retreat.  I feared also, that, when they caught my scent, they would
hunt me up.

Only a few days previous I had found the skeleton of a Kaffir in the
bush with the ribs smashed, evidently the work of some powerful pressure
or blow; and Inyovu seemed to think that it had been done by an
elephant's foot.

I did not like the look of things, but there was very little time in
which to make up my mind; so turning, I ran as well as I could down the
path up which I had just come, hoping thus to get along in front of the
elephants and before they could cross my spoor.  I could hear them
crushing through the bush nearly in front of me, and was afraid that I
was already blocked in, but they were still some yards distant; the
branches struck me some smart whacks on the face, and one or two thorns
buried themselves in my legs.  I won the race, however, though only by a
few yards, as the elephants were close to the path as I passed them:
they heard and smelt me, and gave tremendous shrill screams.  I kept on,
and was soon clear of the bush, but did not cease looking behind me
until on my pony's back.  This sort of work certainly keeps one up to
the mark, and may be decidedly called sharp practice.



CHAPTER ELEVEN.

JOURNEY TO THE ZULU COUNTRY--HUNGER THE BEST SAUCE--A POPULAR SONG--AN
UNEXPECTED GUEST--PANDA'S REGIMENTS--HIS PET VULTURES--AN INGENIOUS
SCARECROW--ANOTHER REIT-BUCK--THE TELESCOPE--A LESSON IN SPOORING--A
TRIAL OF NERVES--INTRUDING LEOPARDS--A KAFFIR FEAST AND CONCERT--BAKED,
BLINDED, AND POISONED--PESHAUNA, A KAFFIR BELLE--KAFFIR LOVE-TALE--AN
ABDUCTION AND A RESCUE--NONE BUT THE BRAVE DESERVE THE FAIR.

Having received intelligence of a very good game country, between the
Imvoti and Tugela rivers, which was seldom visited, either by the
traders who went into the Zulu country or by any hunters, I determined
to make an expedition into this part, which was about seventy miles from
Port Natal.  To accomplish my trip with comfort, I provided myself with
a pack-ox that was able to carry about a hundredweight; this animal I
loaded with some spiced beef, as a stand-by in case of getting no game,
some brandy, biscuits, salt, powder, tobacco, and a few beads; the
latter as presents for the Kaffirs.  I started my ox, with two of my
Kaffirs and one of my horses, to get a day's journey in advance,
reserving my second horse to ride after the cavalcade.  I made all
inquiries as to the style of place, but found it a rare occurrence for
two people's stories to agree.  Some said there was no game at all
there, excepting a few bucks; one or two Kaffirs had heard that elands
and buffaloes were often found in the country near the Imvoti river;
others said there was not a single head of anything to be found.
Putting all these accounts down at their proper value, I determined to
inspect the place and judge for myself; for I generally found that the
ignorant or indolent reported that there was nothing in a country in
which a sportsman would find plenty.  I started across the Umganie at
peep of day, and made a journey of nearly forty miles, when I came up
with my Kaffirs.  They had been joined by my old friend Matuan, who told
me that he was going in the same direction to buy cattle, he having
obtained some money by the sale of Indian corn, which he grew in great
quantities.  I had a small tent amongst the packs on my ox, just big
enough to crawl into; it was about seven feet long and three high, and
made a comfortable little kennel.  I noticed a Dutchman's house about a
mile off; but as I had everything I wanted, and the night was fine and
moonlight, I preferred camping under the trees where I then was.  We
lighted a fire and sat round it.  A tin mug full of brandy-and-water
being served out to my black companions, they became very talkative.
Inyovu, who was armed with one of my guns, had managed to shoot a red
bush-buck on the journey, and we were busy lodging the venison in our
hungry maws.  The appetite one gets at this out-of-door work is
perfectly wonderful; being in the open air all day and all night, I
suppose, causes a man to become very much, in habit, like some of the
four-footed _carnivora_.  In the eating way there is no doubt about it;
the meat disappears in heaps; enough to feed an Irish family, here only
serves as a meal for one.  Scarcely is it finished, when an infallible
appetite is again crying out for a supply.  I had, unfortunately,
forgotten my plates and dishes; I was also without a fork; neither,
however, were missed by the Kaffirs; so I was forced to imitate their
proceedings.  A long strip being cut off the buck, it was laid on the
red-hot embers, and was turned occasionally until cooked; a wisp of
grass was then put in requisition to hold one end of the meat, while the
hot ashes were shaken and knocked off, with a graceful swing of the left
hand the other end was caught in the mouth, and held hard until a
mouthful was separated with the knife; the remainder was kept hot until
one was ready for a second mouthful.  This was certainly not a very
elegant way of dining, but still it was most delightfully simple.

The Kaffirs seemed to like the flavour that the wood gave to the meat.
Not having a taste that way myself, I made use of an iron ramrod to keep
the meat from the ashes; I strung the slices on the ramrod, one end of
which I stuck into the ground, and allowed it to bend over the fire at
an angle of forty-five degrees, cutting off the bits of meat as they
were done.  After each of us had eaten as much as would have choked
three beings in civilised society, the Kaffirs commenced a song.  It was
a very popular one in this part, commencing, "_Eno baba gofile_," with a
splendid chorus of "_E, yu, yu, yu; E, yu, yu, yu_."  It was surprising
that no accident happened to any of them, as they shouted at the top of
their voices for nearly an hour with a fierce and determined action.
Even after my wolf-like repast, the noise was too much for me, and I was
about begging them to drop the curtain on their performance, when they
suddenly stopped.  I looked up and saw the white eyes of a strange
Kaffir a few yards from the fire.  I saw that my party expected me to
speak, so gave the usual salutation, "_Saca bona_" which was responded
to by him.  I then asked him to come and sit down and tell us the news,
and offered him my snuff-gourd.  He soon told me that he was the head
man of a neighbouring kraal, that he had heard my Kaffirs singing; and,
in fact, he thought a good thing was going on, and he might as well have
a slice of it.  We handed him the bones of the buck to pick, which were
all that were left; he cleaned them most completely, scarcely leaving a
mouthful for my two dogs, which had been anxious observers of our
operations.  My Kaffirs were asking all sorts of questions from the new
comer.  I found great satisfaction from understanding the language, and
before I retired for the night had made out the following as having been
the early career of our guest:--

His name was Eondema, and he was one of Panda's officers.  Panda being
the great Zulu chief across the Tugela, he mentioned Panda's name with
great awe, as if it were not quite safe even here to speak of it aloud.
Eondema was a very fast runner, and had therefore been in Panda's light
infantry regiment called the _Impofarns_ (Elands).

"Panda," said he, "is a great chief, has many thousands of cattle, and
thousands of warriors.  His hosts are like the grass, or a flight of
locusts; you might cut them down, or tread on them, but thousands would
still come on, and victory must be theirs."  He had many regiments,
which he called by the names of animals, or by their qualities.  These
were--the _Injlovus_, or Elephants, all men of great height and
strength.  They were armed with a very heavy spear for stabbing, and
their shields were made of oxhides, and were stained black.  "_Ma mee_!"
They were strong I exclaimed Eondema.  Then there were the _Ingulubi_,
or Wild-pigs; the _Inyarti_, or Buffaloes; the _Imvubu_, or Hippopotami;
the _Impofarn_, etc.  All these regiments were armed with spears and
shields.  They imitated the actions and noises of the animals from which
they took their names, and were obliged in their battles to bring back
their own or their enemy's shield and assagy.  When they attacked, they
rushed on at a charge in line.  One or two assagies, used for throwing,
were lighter than those used for stabbing, and were thrown at the enemy
when within about forty yards.

The regiment was divided into divisions, the right division throwing
their spears to their left half-face, and the left division to their
right half-face.  This arrangement was intended to dazzle the enemy, and
make the shower of spears more difficult to avoid.  Eondema belonged to
the _Impofarn_ regiment, and, being ambitious, he was always either
shooting elephants (being fortunate enough to possess an old musket) or
bartering cattle.  Eondema's herds attracted the attention of the chief,
and a jealous eye was cast upon them; but they could not well be taken
from him without his having committed some crime.  Nothing was, however,
easier than to find a stick with which to beat him.  As it is with
others, so it was with Panda.  Eondema, there was little doubt, had, by
his witchcraft, caused an old cow of his chief's to die.  Fortunately
for him, a friend intimated (at great personal risk) that a party had
received orders to assagy him during the following night.  A hasty
retreat across the Tugela (the English boundary) saved him, at the loss,
however, of cattle and wives.  Being a sharp fellow, he soon again made
money, _alias_ cattle, and was at this time head man of the kraal near
which I stopped on this night.

There does not seem to be any very great regard for human life amongst
the Kaffir chiefs, should they find their authority, supremacy, or
selfishness in question.

A story that has been told me--for the truth of which I beg I may not be
held responsible--may give an idea of the light manner in which life is
regarded, particularly in the old and infirm.  Although this story may,
or may not, be a fact, still an anecdote on a country's peculiarities,
even if it is embellished, generally gives an idea of the people's
habits.

Panda keeps, it is said, some pet vultures, and if his supply of beef is
short, and he does not like killing an ox, he pats his darling birds on
the head, asking them if they are not very hungry.  Then calling one of
his soldiers, he directs him to go and knock old Father So-and-So on the
head, and drag him into the bush for his vultures, as they are very
hungry.  A fit meal for a vulture--a tough old Kaffir!

I went to sleep after Eondema's story, but could occasionally hear the
voices of the party.  They seemed to find eating the only thing
necessary; they did not drink or sleep.  On the following day I was
amused at seeing an ingenious plan that the Kaffirs used to frighten the
birds from their corn-gardens.  These were sometimes of great extent,
ten and twenty acres being in cultivation together.  Several
descriptions of birds, in large flocks, invaded them, and would have
done great damage in carrying off the corn, but for the precautions
taken.  In the centre, or most elevated spot of the garden, a kind of
platform was erected, on which were two or three boys and girls.  From
this stage three ropes (manufactured by the Kaffirs) were tied to the
extreme ends of the garden, and sufficiently low to be amongst the thick
stalks and stems of the Indian corn.  These long lines were connected to
each other on an enlarged plan of a spider's web.  When a flock of birds
was seen to settle in any part of the field, two or three of the
youngsters caught hold of the line that led over the spot, and shook it
violently, shouting at the same time: the noise made by the rope
frightened them away on the wing at once.

A white stranger was a very rare visitor in this part.  As I had turned
off the high road to the Zulu country, I could hear the great fact of an
"_Umlungo_" arriving, shouted from hill to hill, and kraal to kraal; the
Kaffirs generally all turned out to see me, passing remarks on myself,
gun, and horses, in the coolest manner.  When they found that I could
speak to them in their own tongue, and was on a shooting trip, they had
a much higher opinion of me than if I had been a trader.  On the next
night I took up my quarters at the kraal of a sporting Kaffir, who was
called Inkau; he had a gun and was a mighty Nimrod, having shot
elephants, buffaloes, hippopotami, and nearly all the large game.  He
was supplied with powder by a Dutchman at Natal, for the purpose of
shooting elephants, half the ivory falling to the said Dutchman's share.
He informed me that buffaloes and elands were not farther off than we
could walk while it took the sun to go from "there to there,"--pointing
to two clouds in the sky.  I was now pleased that I had not paid any
attention to the croakers who had assured me there was no game whatever
about here.  Elephants were not far off either, and bucks so plentiful
that they would often destroy the mealeas (as the Indian corn is here
called), if it were not regularly watched.  Inkau very graphically
described the manner in which a buffalo was to be shot:--"You must get
close to him, and shoot _so_," said he, standing steady as a rock and
aiming with his gun.  "If you do like this, you won't kill him;" at the
same time giving effect to his explanations by shaking himself, and
holding his gun as if in a great fright.  Inkau's description was
correct.

As it was still nearly an hour to sundown, I went with two or three
Kaffirs to a neighbouring ravine, in which a reit-buck was generally
found.  Inkau, like nearly every Kaffir whom I have seen, could only
shoot well at a stationary object; this reit-buck, therefore, by keeping
a sharp look-out, had managed to escape so many times from Inkau's
erring bullet, that at last he gave up firing at him as a waste of
powder.  On our nearing the long reeds, the buck sprang out, and
cantered quietly up the hill; the Kaffirs shouted to me to fire, but I
waited until his outline stood out in bold relief against the sky, when
I lodged an ounce of lead in his shoulder, which had the effect on him
of an irresistible invitation to that night's supper; his steaks were
most excellent eating, and I thenceforth stood high in Inkau's
estimation.

A reit-buck, as he falls, weighs something over a hundred pounds, and in
Inkau's kraal, at the feast, there were about thirty people, men, women,
and children.  Yet such were the performances in gastronomy, that there
was after dinner scarcely a sufficient quantity of the reit-buck
remaining to supply me with a breakfast on the following morning.  There
was such a scarcity of corn in this kraal, that I had difficulty in
getting even a mouthful for my horses; they suffered consequently in
condition, and the one I rode on the first day, was too weak for me to
get anything like a gallop out of him.  I started quite early in the
morning with Inkau, to a spot which he told me elands frequented.  We
reached a commanding position, where I pulled out my telescope for an
inspection.  My companion had never seen such an implement before, and
could not comprehend what I was doing; so that when at last I rested it
on the saddle, and got him to look through it, his delight and
astonishment knew no bounds.  Good sight is much valued by the Kaffirs,
and the possession of a telescope would raise a man to as high a
position of envy there as that of a Koh-i-noor its fortunate owner in
England.  No game appeared in sight, so Inkau proposed that we should
make for some high table-land a few miles distant.  I led my horse and
walked beside Inkau, who rarely saw a clump of bushes or a distant peak,
but what he had to tell me that he shot something _there_ so many moons
ago, indicating by his fingers the number.

He was a determined sportsman, and seemed to love hunting for the sake
of sport alone.  He did not care what work he went through, and was
certainly a most gentlemanly Kaffir, as he never asked for a present, or
any reward for all his trouble, and seemed unexpectedly pleased when I
presented him, on leaving, with the value of a blanket, some powder, and
a box of lucifer-matches.  On passing near a deep woody ravine, he told
me that he would go down in it and beat the bush for a buffalo, and that
I might wait up at the top, where I should probably get a shot, as any
game that might be in the ravine would come out on that side, and make
for the dense bush by the river.  I did as he requested, and heard him
coolly beating the bushes in the hollow beneath.  Presently something
came rushing towards me; I was all ready for a buffalo, but saw only a
bush-pig, which I allowed to pass unhurt, fearing that the report of my
gun would alarm the country, and that my Kaffir would not consider this
pig a sufficient excuse.  Soon after, Inkau came out of the bush, and
said, "No buffalo there to-day," and walked quietly on.  When he crossed
the spoor of the bush-pig, he suddenly stopped, and looking down, said,
"A buffalo has passed here this morning!"  I was amused at what I
thought was his mistake, and allowed him to make one or two more remarks
about it; I then told him that it was a bush-pig.  "No! a buffalo," he
positively asserted.  The grass was long but green, and no sand could be
seen, or any ground that could take an impression.  I said that a
bush-pig had passed there just now.  "I know it," he answered; "look
here,"--pointing to where the grass was trodden down, and was still
springing slowly up again,--"that is wild pig, but that"--pointing to
some other marks that were on the same track--"is buffalo.  Besides, a
wild pig does not eat the tops of grass."  As he gave this last
conclusive argument, he picked a handful of grass, and showed me the
tops eaten off.  I saw that I had fallen several degrees in his
estimation by such great want of observation.  The matter being settled
beyond a doubt, he followed instantly on the trail, which led down to
the river.  Inkau moved at a run, so _I_ mounted to keep up with him.
We soon came to a part of the bush too thick for a horse to go through;
I therefore dismounted, off-saddled, and turned my nag out to graze, and
then entered the bush.  As we neared the game, which we knew we were
doing by the freshness of the spoor, Inkau slackened his pace; he was
steady as a rock, and was evidently well supplied with nerves.  He asked
me whether I felt at all afraid, as he would go on alone if I did.  I
answered him by holding out my gun at arm's length, when he, seeing it
quite steady, complimented me, but cautioned me by saying that the
buffaloes here were very dangerous.  I did not think this was such sharp
work as the elephant-hunting about Natal, in the thick bush, as although
the buffalo is very savage and cunning, a small tree will save you from
him, whereas an elephant must be fenced off with rather a big one.  The
usual careful approach being made, the danger in this sport is not very
great.  Accidents happen to men who move carelessly, either thinking
that they are not near game, or anxious to show that they are not
afraid.  An incautious person is sure, sooner or later, to meet with a
mishap, if he goes much after dangerous animals.  A true sportsman need
not trouble himself about what people think.  Some may take a delight in
being able to say that they have walked in a bush, and tired at
elephants and buffaloes, without any of the precautions that I have
named as necessary; I should recommend them not to do so often.  We shot
this buffalo, but I will give details in another part.  I was afraid
that some of the _carnivora_ might feast on him, so we determined to
return to my horse, and make the best of our way back to the kraal.  A
large party instantly set off with assagies to bring in the meat, while
I had some dinner and a glass of brandy-and-water.  I then strolled out
to a neighbouring kloof, and poked about the bushes in search of game.
Hearing some guinea-fowl calling, I drew my bullets, and put buckshot
into both barrels.  This is a plan I rarely practised, as it is better
always to retain a bullet in one barrel; in the present case the neglect
of this might have led to a serious affair.  Having crept down to where
I thought I heard the guinea-fowl, I saw a couple of creatures moving in
the long grass.  I could not see what they were; but thinking that they
must be bucks, I crept down towards them until well within shot; I then
stood up, and ran forward.  When within a few yards of the objects, I
was brought to a stand-still, by seeing a leopard jump up: he gave a
snarl at me, and then bounded off, followed by a second one.  They went
away just like two cats, leaping lightly over everything in their
course.  My finger was on the trigger to fire, but remembering the
Dutchman Hendrick's advice, I thought it wiser to let them alone.  I saw
them go over a rocky hill some distance off, and was quite willing to
let them thus retreat.

I returned up the ravine, and killed two guinea-fowl at one shot, as
they were running furiously along a path.  I thought my old buffalo
might not be so tender as a guinea-fowl, in which supposition I was
correct.  A Kaffir girl plucked one of the birds for me, and I thought
it particularly good, although it had not the addition of bread sauce or
gravy.  As it was getting dark the Kaffirs returned, almost weighed down
by the immense weight of meat.  Never had there been such luxurious
times in their land; meat without reserve; snuff in plenty; and a round
of brandy-and-water for the principal men.  One or two large earthen
vessels were placed on the fire, and huge pieces of the buffalo were put
into them to stew.  During the cooking, all the men assembled in the
largest hut, which was circular, and like all the others.  It was about
twenty feet in diameter, about seven feet high, and in shape like a
beehive.  A large place in the centre was hollowed out for the fire; no
chimney was considered necessary, a little hole that was in the thatch
being more for look than use; the smoke from the fire was thick and
blinding.  The Kaffirs sat, like so many dogs, watching the meat
stewing, at the same time trying little tit-bits of about half a pound
or so, just as wetters to their appetites.  They soon began a song,
which was an extempore laudation of me: there was a great repetition of
the same words, but very good time was kept, and a great deal of
exercise gone through.  The arms were held something in the attitude
that a prizefighter would assume, and the body violently jerked up and
down.  Every now and then one of the party would give a signal, when
they all would stop, and a man, with a very high tenor voice, shout a
few words; at the termination of these a chorus would join in amidst
yells and shrill whistles.  Throughout, however, they kept a sort of
regularity, and, although barbarous in the extreme, it was music of its
kind.  They did not seem to understand why I preferred to remain outside
in the cold, and repeatedly asked me to come inside the hut; so not to
appear exclusive, I took off my coat and waistcoat, and joined the
festive scene, by which I appeared to give great satisfaction.  In a
quarter of an hour, however, I had had quite enough of it; I was baked
nearly to a cinder, blinded with the smoke, and poisoned with the smell.
A Kaffir, after his bath, is not the most sweetly perfumed animal in
the world; but when five-and-twenty hot men assemble in one hut, and sit
round a fire, it becomes too much to get over even with the aid of
powerful snuff.  I therefore pitched my tent outside, and, concealing
myself between its folds, was soon asleep.  The moon was still high when
I awoke, and, not feeling inclined to sleep again, I took my gun, and
wandered out in the cool night-air.  Not a sound indicated the presence
of human beings; the country all round could be as plainly seen as
during the daylight, the night was so clear and bright.  Several
mysterious sounds occasionally could be heard both far and near; the
hyaena's laugh was frequently audible, and twice I most distinctly heard
the deep growl of a lion, sounding as though he were on a range of hills
some three or four miles off: there was no mistaking his voice when once
heard.  I stopped out for nearly an hour, enjoying the beauty of the
moonlight, and the wildness of the noises that alone disturbed the
night: not a breath of wind was stirring.  I could see indistinctly dark
forms moving about on the opposite hills, an occasional shriek from
which indicated some prowling jackals or hyaenas on the look-out for
prey.  I soon began to feel very cold, and returned to creep again under
the folds of my tent.

The following day was spent in an unsuccessful trip after elephants that
Inkau had heard were near the Imvoti; we saw nothing of them, and
returned home tired and hungry.

Amongst the members of this kraal was a very nice-looking Kaffir woman.
The women can be handsome, although perhaps admiration for them is an
_acquired taste_.  Well, Peshauna (the girl's name) was the best-looking
of Inkau's wives, and was placed as head woman of Inkau's kraal; she did
but little work, and was highly dressed, in the extreme of the fashion,
not in crinoline or embroidery, but in beads and brass.  Bound her head
she had a broad band of light-bine and white beads; a pendent string of
the latter hanging in a graceful curve over her eyelids, giving them the
sleepy, indolent look assumed by so many of our fair sex.  Bound her
neck in numbers, strings of beads were negligently hung, and a little
apron of fringe about a foot long was fastened round her waist; this was
neatly ornamented with beads of red, white, and blue; her wrists were
also decorated with bracelets made of beads and brass, while her ankles
were encircled with a fringe made from monkey's hair.  This was the
full-dress costume of Peshauna.  To these adornments the most affable
and agreeable manners were added, quite divested of that _hauteur_ and
assumption so often practised by acknowledged belles; she had a most
graceful way of taking her snuff; and stuck through her ears were two
very long mimosa-thorns for the purpose of combing her woolly locks.  I
think all must agree in placing her on record as a most charming and
divine nymph!  She was, alas, another's!  Twenty cows had been paid for
her, and five men assagied, before she became the property of my gallant
friend Inkau.  It took at least a pint of gin before I could work him up
to tell his story, which he did in words something like the following;
his action and expression, however, had so much to do with the beauty of
the story, that it loses fearfully in retailing:--

"I had long heard people talk of Peshauna being a beauty, but did not
think much about it until I went buffalo-shooting near her father's
kraal.  I stopped there one night and saw her.  _Ma mee_! she was
_muthle kakulu_!"  (the superlative of beautiful).  "I talked to her a
great deal, and I thought that she would soon like me.  I went out next
day, and shot a young buffalo.  I managed to get help enough to bring it
to the kraal, and I gave it all to Peshauna.  Her father had asked many
cows for her, but somehow no one had yet offered enough.  When I heard
this, I felt very frightened lest some one should carry her off before I
could manage to buy her.  My two wives I had always thought would have
been enough for me, and I had given so many cows for them, that I really
had not twenty left.  I considered how I could manage, and hoped that
fourteen cows paid, and seven more in ten moons, would be as good as
twenty now.  But Ama Sheman, her father, would not have this, and told
me that a young chief named Boy would give the twenty cows at once.  I
was very angry at this, and asked Ama Sheman to wait a little, which he
agreed to do for four months, as he said he would sooner see her my
_umfazi_ [wife] than Boy's.  I went home, and was always after
elephants.  I got very rash, and was nearly killed by them once or
twice, for my gun was not big enough.  At last I killed a large
bull-elephant, and got eight cows as my share.  I started off at once to
tell Ama Sheman that my cows were ready.  He did not seem pleased to see
me, but told me he should like to see my cows.  He was an old _chingana_
[rogue], and wanted to see which had the finest lot of cattle, Boy or I,
as Boy had now offered twenty cows as well as myself.  Mine were the
finest, so it was agreed that I was to take Peshauna as my _umfazi_.
When this was settled, I went out to try and shoot a buffalo for our
marriage-feast.  I did kill a large one before the sun was up high, and
I returned with it to the kraal.  As I came near, I heard the women and
children screaming.  I ran up, and found that Boy had watched all the
men out of the kraal, had then walked quietly in with three of his
people, and caught my dear Peshauna, and, before she had suspected
anything, carried her off.  Ama Sheman went out to try and stop them,
but he was knocked on the head with a knob-kerry, and lay as if dead.
They got off well from the kraal, and were out of sight when I returned,
for they did not think I should be back so soon.  I shouted for the men,
who soon came in.  We got our assagies, and I had my gun.  Ama Sheman
came all alive again, and eight of us started in chase.  We went fast,
and soon sighted the four rascals.  As we came near them, they seemed
surprised, and did not know what to do.  They soon let Peshauna loose,
and ran for their lives.  We gained on them, and I threw away my gun,
that I might run quicker.  They had a river to cross, which was deep;
they were wrong to try and get across; they ought to have fought on this
side.  Before they had gone over half the water, we had assagied two of
them.  They soon sank, and were eaten up by the alligators.  The other
two got over.  We all jumped into the water, and swam after them.  One
of our young men, a very fast runner, went past me, and neared Boy; as
he did, he shouted to him not to run like a dog, but to stop and fight.
Boy took no notice until the man was close to him, when he suddenly
stopped, turned round, and threw an assagy, which went through our fast
runner, and killed him.  It was Boy's last achievement, for I was on him
like a leopard, and my assagy going into his heart was pleasant music to
me.  The other Kaffir was killed by Ama Sheman.  We hid their bodies, as
we did not wish a war with their kraal.  We all kept the story quiet,
and they did not for some time discover what had become of Boy and his
party.  The hyaenas and vultures soon picked their bones."

I complimented Inkau on his bravery, and told him that I thought his
wife Peshauna was well worth the price he had paid, and the danger he
had incurred, for her possession; and when she came again into the
kraal, I looked upon her wild beauty with additional interest.



CHAPTER TWELVE.

A KAFFIR HUNT--A BATTUE--FIRE-MAKING--A LUNCH AL FRESCO--TROUBLESOME
INVADERS--FLIGHT OF LOCUSTS--CROWS OUTWITTED--ALLIGATOR SHOT--A LION
CHASE--STRENGTH OF THE LION--A SLIGHT MISTAKE--SNUFF-MANUFACTURING--A
PROPOSAL OF MARRIAGE--KAFFIR KINDLINESS.

One morning, Inkau told me that some large buck were in plenty not far
from his kraal, and he thought that, with my help, he and his people
might be able to have some very good sport.  Being most anxious to
witness a grand battue amongst the Kaffirs, I urged him to get all the
men together who felt disposed for the expedition; and about a hundred
assembled, all armed with either spears or knob-kerries.

I determined to be an observer of the proceedings rather than an actor,
and not to shoot at anything unless I saw it must otherwise escape, and,
by thus leaving the Kaffirs entirely alone, to watch their particular
devices.

The country was open, and of that park-like, description so common in
Africa; the covers being about ten acres in extent.  These were, at a
given signal, surrounded by men, whose assagies or kerries were held in
readiness for throwing.  Two or three Kaffirs, who were told off as
beaters, would then go inside and beat the bushes and grass.

Some of these woods had been drawn blanks, when, on entering a thick
patch of reeds and bush, a "Tally" was given by a beater, which was
responded to by a grand flourish of assagies from the ring of men
without.  A couple of the wild bush-pigs broke out of the cover, and had
scarcely shown themselves for a second when an avalanche of spears and
sticks came down upon them.  The swine immediately presented the
appearance of ruffled porcupines, as the assagies were sticking in
numbers into their hides, and pointing in all directions.  Still they
made a bold rush for their lives: it was of no use, however; for twenty
stabbing-spears were driven deep into them, and piggy was soon made
pork.  The savages seemed to take great delight in the single act of
drawing blood, several spears being thrust into the pigs long after they
had ceased to move.  I thought it a piece of wonderful forbearance when
I found that four men received directions to take the pork home.  I
fully expected to see the pigs eaten then and there; delays in these
things the Kaffirs seem to consider as dangerous; and having an appetite
always in readiness, they find but little difficulty in accommodating
themselves to time and place.

Our next find was a couple of black bush-buck, male and female.  They
broke out of the cover gallantly, and the ram, lowering his horns,
charged straight at the line of Kaffirs.  A shower of missiles which
were hurled at him failed in checking his career, and he dashed forward,
leaving his partner on the ground.  The Kaffirs quickly cleared the
road, and allowed him to rush through, giving a grand volley of assagies
as he passed; half-a-dozen remained in him, and his fate was then
decided.  He stopped once or twice, and tried with his mouth to pull out
an assagy that was stacking in his shoulder, but could not manage it.
The Kaffirs, by keeping wide on each side, had run on ahead, and were
now gradually inclosing the gallant stag again, delivering their
assagies as they approached him.  The buck seemed undecided where to
charge; he was once or twice driven back by the yells of the Kaffirs and
the rattling and shaking of their oxhide shields; he soon fell under the
blows and stabs that were freely given to him.

The idea of dining off these two bucks was too great a temptation for my
black companions to resist; they were now bent on eating, and I saw
preparations made for lighting a fire, for which neither lucifer nor
flint-and-steel were used.

Two dry sticks, one being of hard and the other of soft wood, were the
materials used.  The soft stick was laid on the ground, and held firmly
down by one Kaffir, whilst another employed himself in scooping out a
little hole in the centre of it with the point of his assagy; into this
little hollow the end of the hard wood was placed and held vertically.
These two men sat face to face, one taking the vertical stick between
the palms of his hands, and making it twist about very quickly, while
the other Kaffir held the lower stick firmly in its place; the friction
caused by the end of one piece of wood revolving on the other soon made
the two pieces smoke.  When the Kaffir who twisted became tired, the
respective duties were exchanged.  These operations having continued
about a couple of minutes, sparks began to appear, and, when they became
numerous, were gathered into some dry grass, which was then swung round
at arm's length until a blaze was established; and a roaring fire was
gladdening the hearts of the Kaffirs with the anticipation of a glorious
feast in about ten minutes from the time that the operation was first
commenced.

I joined the party as usual on these occasions, and did great credit to
an Englishman's eating powers.  I was much amused at the cool manner in
which Inkau treated some of the men present, who seemed to be considered
amongst the lower class of Kaffirs.  He cut up the bucks with his own
hands, thereby securing the best and most choice bits for himself and
me; while every now and then he would look round the circle of black and
expecting faces, and chuck the common pieces, or tough bits, to these
poor wretches, who snatched them up, and after half-cooking them, bolted
piece after piece, like hungry curs.

These two bucks, although each weighed about 120 pounds, were only
sufficient for a light luncheon for the Kaffirs; although to me the men
seemed to be crammed like boa-constrictors.  They showed a great
disinclination to move after their repast, although they complained that
they were still _lambile_ (hungry).  An immense quantity of snuff was
consumed, the tears coursing each other down the cheeks of many of the
party, from the strength and rapidity of the doses.  Seeing so great a
disinclination on the part of the Kaffirs to use any exertion now that
they were full of meat, I went by myself to have a look for a sea-cow,
as the colonists call the hippopotamus, the Kaffir name for which is
"imvubu."  I was told that they were to be found in the Imvoti river,
and they were not very frequently disturbed in this part.  The Kaffirs
near the river frequently suffered very much from the depredations of
this game, corn-gardens being sometimes nearly destroyed and trodden
down by the sea-cow during one night.  Other animals also persecuted
these unfortunate people.  A herd of elephants might quietly walk
through their fences some night, with the same ease as though the
barricades were cobwebs, crush to the ground the nearly ripe crop, and
leave the whole Kaffir village with but a poor chance of obtaining a
winter supply of corn.  These Kaffirs were rarely possessed of a gun,
and did not like to venture too near these savage intruders; and the
shouting and beating of shields did not always produce the desired
effect on the elephants.  Sometimes a venturesome Kaffir would get
himself smashed by attempting to drive away a savage troop, and this
would act as a warning to other Kaffirs; and they therefore frequently
preferred being pillaged to being squashed.  Sometimes a party of bucks
will get the habit of sneaking into the corn of a night, when it is
green and young, and will enjoy a good feed at the expense of the
kraal's crop of mealeas.

The worst visitation, however, is a flight of locusts; and no idea can
be formed of the destruction which these creatures will accomplish in
even a couple of hours.  I saw several heavy flights during my residence
at Natal, the heaviest of which came upon the country at the back of the
Berea, and extended about four miles inland.  I can only compare its
appearance to that of a heavy fall of snow, where each flake is
represented by a locust.  My horse would scarcely face them, and I was
often nearly blinded by a great brute coming into my eye with a flop.  I
did not practise the same refined cruelty on this delinquent that a
gentleman of South-African reputation told me he had one day done when a
locust flew into his eye.  Although blinded momentarily in one eye, he
still kept the other on the rascal, who sought escape by diving amongst
the crowd on the ground.  After dismounting and capturing it, he passed
a large pin through its body, and placed it in his waistcoat-pocket.
Whenever the damaged eye smarted, he pulled the locust out of his
pocket, and passed the pin through it in a fresh place: so hard-lived
was this poor wretch, that I was assured the eye became quite well
before the locust died.

Birds also frequently annoy the Kaffir gardens; and these people's power
of defence against them is so limited, that it is absurd to see the
importance they will sometimes place upon their destruction.

I once won the heart of an old Kaffir and all his wives, by lulling two
birds that had persecuted him for a considerable time.

He came from a great distance to request my aid, and I rode out with him
and shot two crows that had made a regular joke of him for several
weeks.  These two birds had established their quarters near his kraal,
and were going to build a nest in a large tree.  The Kaffir would soon
have destroyed their eggs, but in the mean time the birds took every
opportunity of stealing any mealeas that might be put out to dry, or
bits of meat that might be left in the sun, and were for a moment
unwatched; his gardens, also, were examined occasionally for seed.  When
the old Kaffir rushed out at the birds with his knob-kerries, they would
fly away quickly, giving an ironical sort of "caw," and settling high up
in the tree, look down upon him and continue their jokes.  I witnessed
this proceeding on first arriving at the kraal, and laughed immoderately
at the old women's expressions, as they shook their fists with rage at
the birds, and told me the crows were so cunning, that they would not
walk into a trap, and that they always served the man in the same manner
in which I had seen them behave.  I walked quietly down to the tree on
which the birds were perched, they little suspecting the new dodge that
was going to be practised on them: they gave some very jocular caws as I
came near them, and eyed me with a sort of supercilious bend of the
head.  The excitement of all the Kaffirs was intense, as they looked on
from a distance to witness the effect of my attack.

I walked round the tree until both birds were nearly in a line, they
meanwhile watching all my proceedings most carefully, and I have no
doubt flattering themselves that they were not going to be humbugged by
me.  Suddenly a charge of shot rattled through the branches, and down
the crows both dropped, fluttering, to the ground.

A yell of delight from the expecting Kaffirs was the result of the
success, as they rushed down towards their formerly triumphant, but now
humbled enemies.  Half a dozen hands eagerly seized on each bird, and in
a few seconds their bodies were torn into the smallest pieces and
scattered to the winds, whilst a shower of thanks and great praise fell
to my share.

I walked quietly up the banks of the Imvoti for nearly three miles, but
saw no signs of Hippo himself, although the spoor was very plentiful.
The day was very hot, and, seeking a shady tree, whose branches overhung
the stream, I sought shelter from the sun's rays and rest for my legs.
I was soon interested in watching a colony of the pretty little yellow
orioles, which were building their nests in the trees near the river.
They had selected those branches that were pliant and overhung the
stream, a little additional weight on which would have lowered them into
the water; they were thus secure from the depredations of birds-nesting
monkeys, whose egg-hunting attempts might have resulted in a ducking.
These birds seemed to be excellent weavers, and knit the grass in the
most ingenious way.  Their nests were made in the shape of a glass
retort, the necks pointing downwards.

Upon casting my eyes on the water below the tree near which I was
sitting, I saw a small black snout just above the water: it was
perfectly still, not a ripple showing that it possessed life.  Watching
it attentively for a few moments, I saw it begin slowly to rise, and
then recognised the head of an alligator: aiming between the eyes, I
lodged a bullet there, which struck with a crash.  The alligator sank
instantly, but I could see that the water was agitated, as though the
monster were having a tussle for his life among the mud and reeds below
the surface.  I kept a sharp look-out at different shallow parts near
the pool, but could not see him rise anywhere.  After waiting for some
time, I returned to Inkau's kraal, which I reached just before dark.  A
party went the next day on my trail, and examined the river, and found
the scaly monster floating and quite dead in the pool where I had left
him.

On the following morning, a Kaffir came to Inkau in breathless haste to
say that the evening before one of his cows had been killed, as it was
returning home, by a lion, that had paid no attention to the shouting of
the boy who attended the cattle, but had carried her away right before
his eyes.  Inkau was the great Nimrod of these parts, and at once agreed
to go in search of the lion.  He went into his kraal and brought out a
very large necklace of charmed medicine, which he fastened round his
neck, and with powder-horn, belt, and musket, and a very large
snuff-gourd, he announced himself ready to depart.  I thought my horses
might be safer where they were, than if I took one to ride to the kraal
of the strange Kaffir, who was named Maqueto.  I therefore directed my
own Kaffirs to look after them, and to watch them from place to place as
they grazed.

A walk of nearly twelve miles up the river brought us to the scene of
the lion's depredation on the previous night.  All the women and
children kept close in their kraals, and shouted to us, "_Hambani
gathle_," (Go on well); while some men, who did not seem at all inclined
to leave the protection of their palisades, complimented us as we
passed, and said, "_Inkosi wena_," (You are chiefs).  Inkau did not make
a boast of his courage, although he said, "_Abantu saba naye_," (The
people are afraid of him, i.e. the lion).  Inkau looked at the print of
the lion's foot, and pronounced him very big; he then followed quietly
on, while Maqueto was now for making his adieu; but Inkau seemed
indignant, and asked him why he left us.  Maqueto said he had no gun.
Inkau pointed to his assagies, which, however, Maqueto explained, were
as nothing for attacking a lion.  The controversy was getting warm, when
I interfered, and said that we should not want Maqueto's company, but
should be better without it.

We then went on with the spoor, which took us over some freshly-burned
ground, and down towards a deep kloof, with high square rocks sticking
up round the edges.  We found that the lion had scarcely allowed the
cow's body to drag on the ground, but had apparently carried it along
quite easily, and as though of no weight.  The Zulu breed of cattle are
smaller than the English, the cows not being even so large as an
Alderney; still it was a good weight to jog along with in his mouth.  We
went down the kloof with great care, listening after each dozen steps;
but there was not a sound to be heard, no crunching of cow's bones, or
other indication of the lion's presence.  We soon came to the remains of
the cow, very little, however, being left; for a lion had dined first,
wolves and jackals afterwards, and vultures had then cleared up the
scraps.  I proposed to Inkau that we should lie in wait for the
cow-slayer's return, and, if necessary, sleep on the ground; but to this
he seemed to have a great objection, as, like most Kaffirs, he disliked
to work all night if he could avoid it.  We cautiously walked through
the long grass, and examined the kloof to the extreme end: as we came
back, and got near the remains of the carcass, we threw some stones into
a bush that we had not passed near.  Just as we did so, something jumped
out of the bush, and rushed through the long grass.  I could only see a
brown back occasionally showing over the long Tambokie grass, but fired
where the movement was.  Inkau instantly bolted like a shot, while I
followed him with equal rapidity, and we stopped behind a tree at about
sixty yards from where I had fired.  I loaded, and was then all ready
for any creature that might charge.

I asked Inkau at what animal I had fired.  He said, "Don't you know?"  I
told him that I was not certain, but fancied it might be the lion.  He
acknowledged that he saw so little of the animal that he really could
not say: thus we had fired at a something, but neither of us, although
by no means novices, could tell what this was.

We were most particular in our approach to the spot, and threw several
stones in advance, but saw nothing until we came right on the body of a
hyaena lying dead.  The shot had been a very lucky one, for, aiming well
forward at the moving grass, I had struck the hyaena with the bullet
under the ear, and it had passed through the skull, dropping him dead in
his track.  We looked round the top of the kloof for spoor by which to
trace the lion; none was to be found, and we had to return without even
the satisfaction of a shot.

I won an old lady's heart by a present of tobacco on my return to
Inkau's kraal.  She had been frequently looking at me very attentively,
and paid me some neat compliments; had she been young, and more like
Peshauna, I should have been flattered; but unfortunately her appearance
was not one that would be at all likely to inspire the tender passion.
Her face was thin and wrinkled, while her whole body looked as though it
were covered with a skin that had been originally intended for a very
much larger person.  She had also suffered from sickness, as was shown
by the scars all over her body,--signs of the cupping and bleeding that
had been performed on her by some Kaffir doctor, with an assagy in lieu
of a lancet.  Still she did not seem to be much displeased with
herself,--a circumstance for which I can only account by the absence of
looking-glasses in this village.

I did not feel much inclined to move after my long walk this day, so I
took a seat near the door of the hut, and watched the old lady turn my
tobacco into snuff.  She first cut it up into little bits with an
assagy, and brought two large stones to the hut; into the lower stone,
which had a well-worn hollow, she put all the bits of tobacco, and with
the other, which was nearly circular, and about the size of an
ostrich-egg, she commenced grinding the tobacco: it seemed very hard
work, as she pressed heavily on the stone during the operation.  After a
time she added some water, which made the mess into a sort of paste,
something like a child's dirt-pie.  After a great deal of grinding and
scraping, the composition began really to look like a snuff-powder.  She
then got a wooden spoon nearly full of white wood-ashes, and mixed them
with the tobacco.  More grinding seemed to amalgamate the two
compositions, when she tried a pinch herself, and pronounced that it
wanted drying in the sun, and would then be good.

During the whole time that she was at work she was uttering disjointed
remarks to me, and at length proposed, in the most shameless and
barefaced manner, that I should marry her daughter.  I requested to know
which of the damsels then present was the proposed bride, and was shown
a young lady about twelve years old, who had very much the appearance of
a picked Cochin-China fowl.  I concealed my laughter, and told the old
lady that when this lassy became taller, and very fat, I might then
think more seriously of her proposition; but as at present I had not six
cows (the required price) handy, I could not entertain the subject.  The
old lady told me she would get the skin and bone adorned with fat by the
time I came on another visit; and, for all I know, this black charmer
may be now waiting in disappointed plumpness.  I stayed seven days at
this kraal: after the third day I had no bread or biscuit, but merely
roasted Indian corn and meat, with the _amasi_ and _ubisi_ (sour and
sweet milk).  I therefore felt the want of bread, butter, and a bed, and
bidding my shooting companion farewell, I distributed beads and tobacco
to the women and some lucifers to the men, and then took my departure.

I should wish to testify to the manner in which I, a perfect stranger,
unknown by name or reputation to these savages, was treated during this
visit.  They were kind, civil, and really hospitable.  It was pleasing
to see a young Kaffir girl come each evening with a bowl of milk and
some corn, and, putting them down quietly beside me, look with her wild
black eyes into my face, and musically say, "_Ar ko inkosi_," (Yours,
chief).

A clever and good missionary was settled near here, and all the Kaffirs
spoke very highly of him.  His good influence might have done something
in turning these Kaffirs' minds in the right direction, but all their
civility and good feeling appeared as though natural and not by tuition.
I do not look to the cause, I merely state what was really the case.
They might have murdered me, and concealed the fact with sufficient
cunning to prevent its discovery; but their only idea seemed to be that
of simple honest-dealing.



CHAPTER THIRTEEN.

THE NATAL KAFFIRS--PSEUDO-CHRISTIANITY--IDEAS OF A FUTURE STATE--THE
KAFFIR PROPHETS--BLACK LAWYERS--A WIFE'S TRUE VALUE--HUSBAND AND WIFE--
WHITE SAVAGE VERSUS BLACK--INJUSTICE TOWARDS THE KAFFIRS--NOBODY WRONG--
NECESSITY OF AN ARMY--MR HOLDEN'S OPINION--SEVERITY SOMETIMES
NECESSARY--REAL CHARACTER OF THE KAFFIR.

The Kaffirs about Natal are a fine honest set of men; they will outwit
you in a bargain like Englishmen, if they can; but this all seems to be
fair, and in the way of trade.  If I went to a kraal for some milk or
anything, they would at once ask me what I would give them for it, and
if I offered a certain amount of snuff or money, they would wrangle for
more; but if I explained to them that I came as a guest, they nearly
always gave freely what I wanted.  The less they had been accustomed to
white traders, the more generously disposed they seemed.  I never felt
that I incurred the slightest risk in going singly anywhere amongst
these people.  They seem to have a very wholesome dread of an
Englishman's power, and so consider it policy to make him a friend.
They were peaceably disposed, in spite of our bad government, and seemed
willing to listen to the missionaries, many of whom were located in the
district.  The labours of these teachers were, however great,
unsatisfactory; for whilst they taught by word what was right, many
other white men taught by deeds what was wrong; the simple-minded savage
was therefore sadly puzzled, and was often, I thought, inclined to look
upon us as a set of humbugs, from this difficulty of separating the bad
from the good.  "Are your laws and your God so good, that you send
teachers to benefit us, and yet you cannot get your own men to obey
them?" was the question of a young Kaffir to me, after he had seen a
drunken Englishman in the streets of Pietermaritzburg during the day.

It too frequently happens, that in our eagerness to civilise the savage,
as we term it, we but impart to him the vile qualities that are common
amongst the white men.  The natural equilibrium of the savage mind is
thus upset, and only those instructions are retained that agree with the
man's own inclination.  I once met a Kaffir whose clothes gave evidence
of his having lived near white men.  When asked to do some work for me,
he refused, stating as his reason, that the black man was as good as the
white, and he did not think, therefore, one ought to work for the other.
He was sitting down at the time drinking and smoking.  Upon
investigating this case, I found that a missionary, endeavouring to
instil religious principles into this savage, and give him a motive for
becoming a Christian, had assured him that in the sight of the Creator
there was no difference between a black and a white man.  This fact was
enough for our friend, he jumped at the offer of baptism, answered to
the name of Lazarus, professed belief in everything, and sat down with
the comfortable idea of being as good as the best white man that he had
ever seen.  This man, of course, would do more harm than good amongst
his fellows; they could discover the false reasoning, but would conclude
that it had been taught by the missionary, and would reject, in
consequence, all religious instruction.  All these Kaffirs seemed to
have a capacity for appreciating the beauties of their country, wild and
graceful as it is to the English eye, which gazes with delight on the
sweet-scented evergreens and graceful vines.  The glories of the
European conservatory are here but a common tree or an overgrown weed.
Amongst scenes like these, the men I employed as aids in hunting had
received their instruction.  The heavens and the stars were their
wonders and puzzles, spooring, throwing the assagy, and tending the
cattle, their courses of study; the wild animals that they frequently
encountered had infused into them a dash of their own savage natures;
their barters and ambitions were limited to a few cattle, a blanket, and
a gun.

Every man of whom I inquired, appeared to believe in a future state, and
that his position in that state would depend upon his deeds in the
present one.  His ideas on the subject were as wild and uncultivated as
his country.  Still he had a belief that by doing certain things he
propitiated the spirit that ruled over the future.  May not these simple
but earnest proceedings of the good savage, joined to an ever-present
wish to do right, obtain for him from above (when weighed in the scale
of mercy) the position of the man intrusted with one talent?  That he
does not do what is right according to our Christian notions, is often
the result of imperfect instruction, and the want of proper example.
But he is in a less dangerous position than the civilised being who has
received his ten talents in the shape of education, and yet wilfully
neglects to use them in the right way.  In judging these Kaffirs, if
there appeared any indication of the good, or what could he admired in
their thoughts or deeds, I placed it on record in my memory, with just
the same impartiality that I did when anything equally bad was shown.

It is too frequently the custom, not only when judging the savage, but
also our own kindred,

  "That for some vicious mode of nature in them,
  Or
  By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,
  * * * * * * * * * *
                          These men--
  Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect;
  Being nature's livery, or fortune's star--
  Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
  As infinite as man may undergo)
  Shall in the general censure take corruption
  From that particular fault: The dram of base
  Doth all the noble substance often dout,
  To his own scandal."

Some of the Kaffir prophets are most wonderfully eloquent and clear.
They will talk for an hour or two without being at a loss for a word,
and, strong in argument, they can bring many examples to make good their
case.  They are very gentlemanly in their language, and I do not think
that they use as much personal abuse as do many gifted orators in
civilised countries.  An Englishman ought not to underrate their talents
in this particular, or he will probably be worsted in an encounter of
words.  A proof of this lawyer-like talent was exhibited by a great
chief near Natal; he was met, however, with equal skill by the officer
who went to him as ambassador.  There is no greater crime amongst
savages than for a simple man to accumulate cattle in large quantities,
as it is thought an attempt to rival his chief.  When this is the case,
a cause for slaughter and appropriation is soon discovered; the other
parties are equally on the alert to watch for suspicious demonstrations
against them.  If they suppose that anything is intended, they leave
their cattle, and make a rush into the district under English control:
they are _there_ safe, and cannot be pursued by the army of the
indignant chief, as it would be a breach of frontier rules.  The chief
to whom I refer had upon one occasion crossed the boundary after a
renegade; so we sent an ambassador to him to remind him of his conduct,
and demand an apology.  On the matter being discussed, the Kaffir
remarked that it was very hard that we did not allow him to punish his
traitors by following and slaying them.  "If," said he, "your own men
mutinied, murdered your officers, and ran into my country, you, I know,
would want to follow and punish them, while I am not allowed to do so."
It was true enough that, should this have happened, we certainly should
have followed and captured the mutineers.  So the ambassador had but one
answer, which was, "The Englishman's laws are so just and good that all
men, black or white, run to them instead of away from them."  A Kaffir
is very grasping in bargains; he will always ask much more than he
purposes taking, and will argue and talk for a considerable time before
he can be beaten down.  If some easy person once pays a high price for
an article, it is afterwards very difficult to obtain the same sort of
thing for a lower, and the market is at once spoiled.  A man of mine
wounded by accident an old Kaffir woman in the leg; the headman of the
kraal at once demanded from me a cow as compensation, as accidents are
not recognised by Kaffirs.  He brought his dinner and snuff-box to my
hut early, and sat talking until late, for three days, gradually
lessening his demands, until two sticks of Cavendish tobacco eventually
satisfied him.  Had I given in to his exorbitant demand, the price would
have been an established one, and an old Kaffir woman could not have
been wounded under the penalty of a cow.  The Kaffir notation is
different from ours; they calculate so many elephants' tusks = so much
money, so much money = one cow; six cows = one wife; this being the
highest currency amongst them.  It may strike many of my readers (in
case I have them) as odd, that a wife should be valued at such a price.
Their family arrangements, however, are different from ours: whereas our
first expense is generally the least, with them it is the greatest, and
the only one; all that takes place afterwards being interest on their
original investment.  If a Kaffir has a large family, especially of
girls, they are soon made useful in the cultivation of his gardens, and,
when at a "coming-out" age, are sold at their fair valuation in cattle.
The honeymoon over, Mrs Matuan, or Eondema, is set to work at once at
turning over the Indian-corn garden, or making baskets to hold milk,
etc.  The master of the house, in the mean while, has a look at his
cattle while they are feeding, milks the cows on their return at night,
and then lies in his hut smoking dakka, a very intoxicating root,
something between tobacco and opium.  Thus, an investment in wives is a
very common custom amongst rich Kaffirs.  I made a great mistake on one
occasion when I intended to give the Kaffir Monyosi a reproof.  On going
to his kraal, on a warm beautiful day, to ask him to come out and shoot,
he told me that he was very lazy, and wanted to stay in his hut and
smoke.  I told him to come out and shoot, and show himself to be a man,
and not stop in his hut all day like a woman (thinking of our English
customs).  He gave a knowing sort of grin, and said, "The _men_ stop in
all day; the _women_ go out and work!"  A Kaffir's riches consist in
either wives or cattle, some of the great chiefs having a hundred wives,
and many thousand head of cattle.

Travellers vary in their accounts of the nature of the South-African
savage.  Each should speak according to his experience, but at the same
time he should judge fairly, and with all due allowance for the ignorant
state of these people.

The frontier Kaffirs, I have before said, are confirmed rascals; but I
doubt whether we have not made them so ourselves; and we are pursuing a
plan to form the Natal Kaffirs on the same model.  Let us see whether
other writers differ from me in their conclusions with regard to the
savages.  Captain Harris, in his "Wild Sports of Southern Africa," says:
"How truly it has been remarked by Captain Owen, that the state of those
countries which have had little or no intercourse with civilised nations
is a direct refutation of the theory of poets and philosophers, who
would represent the ignorance of the savage as virtuous simplicity,--his
miserable poverty as frugality and temperance,--and his stupid indolence
as laudable contempt for wealth.  Widely differing, indeed, were the
facts which came under our observation; _and doubtless it will ever be
found that uncultivated man is a compound of treachery, cunning,
debauchery, gluttony, and idleness_."  Here the hinge appears to turn
upon the term uncultivated man; and I am convinced that there are very
many in the most civilised countries of Europe who as well deserve the
term, without any of the excuses, as the savages of Africa,--at least,
as those about Natal, of whom I now speak.  Was the treatment I received
at the kraal of Inkau, alone and at their mercy, either a compound of
"treachery," "cunning," or "debauchery"?  The gluttony and idleness I
care not to defend; but these are not very grievous crimes to lay to the
charge of able-bodied men who can taste meat scarcely once a week.

I doubt whether I should have been treated as well in many of the
manufacturing districts of England as I was here in Africa.  In the
former place, the only notice a stranger may get is having "arf a brick
eaved at him," or being "pinned by a bull pup."

Imagine the feelings of a Highland chieftain and his clan upon being
quietly told that they must move away from their mountains and their
country, but must not grumble, because the government has made a grant
of land of five acres per man for his people on the Plumstead marshes,
or some other place equally unsuited to their taste; the only reason
assigned for this act being that their ancestors' land, hallowed by
victories and associations, is now required for a cotton-spinning
manufactory.  Would these otherwise loyal subjects become rebels, think
you?

Now let us see if the treatment of the Kaffirs of Natal is very
different from this.  It must be borne in mind that the poor heathen, in
addition to his natural _amor patria_, believes firmly that the spirits
of his fathers are watching over him from the hills that they have
during life inhabited; and that if he quits those hills, he, in a
measure, withdraws from their care.  The Journal of the Bishop of Cape
Town, dated June 9th, 1850, states: "I have heard to-day from a lady who
lives in the neighbourhood, that the chief, Umnini, of whom I have
before spoken, removed from his lands on the Bluff (Natal) last Friday.
He came to bid her farewell before he left; for they had been kind
neighbours to each other.  It was not without sorrow that he quitted his
birthplace, where he has resided all his life, and withstood in his
fastnesses the victorious troops of Tshaka, who conquered the whole
country, and brought into subjection all the native chiefs, except this
one and another.  But now we want his land; it is important for our
growing settlement at D'Urban that it should be in our possession;
therefore he must go.  He is weak and we are strong."  Although it is
not sacrilege to suppose a bishop might be mistaken, still we will ask
which of the two following is the more probable case:--

That the Lord Bishop of Cape Town knew perfectly well what he was
writing about, had good information of the facts he mentioned, and
merely forbore from using stronger language on account of his holy
character; or, that he was quite wrong altogether, and was mistaken with
regard to the affair?

_Might_ it not have been Umnini's own wish that caused him to quit the
land on which he had dwelt for half a century?  _Could_ it not have been
that he at last came to consider the soil that had drunk the blood of
his warriors who died in defending it from the attacks of the savage
Tshaka, as desecrated by the act instead of hallowed?  Or did he not
consider that _though hundreds of moons_ had shone upon him and his
fathers in this place, future moons ought hereafter to shine upon him in
a less fertile soil; and therefore, agreeing to the white man's wishes,
he _willingly_ quitted his home for the price of a few head of cattle
and went forth a wanderer?

As to our strength and the Kaffirs' weakness--oh, no! those things never
happen here; if they did, some might ask, with the innocence of the
child in the show, which was the uncultivated savage famous for "a
compound of treachery and cunning," and which the Christian.  The same
ambiguous answer might naturally be returned, "that we had paid our
money and might take our choice."

These proceedings are all very well, if we look merely to this world as
all and everything; but when we think of the next, the reflection is
hardly so satisfactory.

But who is wrong?  Surely it is not the soldier, who merely goes to see
that the orders given to him are carried out.  The Colonial Government
will say it is not they that are to blame, as land must be had.  And it
certainly is not the English Government that should bear the onus.  It
appears that amongst many of the officials of South Africa, there is a
practice of adhering to the letter of the law, instead of the spirit;
that is in strict accordance with the character shown by the soldier,
who did not save a woman from drowning when he was close beside her,
because he had been taught not to act without orders, and there was
nothing in the Articles of War about drowning women.

Let it not be supposed for a moment that I agree with those who are ever
crying, "Do away with the soldiers," or "Spare the poor savage from
punishment."  When we have to deal with the ferocious savage, whether he
is so naturally or has been made so by the mistaken policy of our
forefathers, it is nothing but the strong arm and the firm hand that can
and will ever keep him in subjection or prevent him from being a
murderer and confirmed thief.

Soldiers may be an evil, but so are doctors; and whenever the disease
war breaks out, it must be vigorously attacked by the physicians, in the
shape of soldiers; and the more ably and the better these soldiers
attack the disease, the sooner will it be stopped, and the less frequent
will be its recurrence.  It would be as ridiculous and short-sighted a
policy to send away all the doctors, hoping thereby to stop sickness, as
to weaken our force anywhere in any country, by withdrawing or reducing
its army, in the hope of better maintaining peace.

The savage invariably considers that forbearance in war is caused by
fear, and he is more ready and eager for battle after kindness and mercy
have been shown him than he would be after a severe lesson.  The Kaffir,
when he really is a savage, is a most ferocious one; and although the
distance that separates England from the Cape is so great, that events
taking place there are scarcely discernible; still, they would cause a
great stir did they happen nearer.  Twelve hundred men, the number slain
by these savages in the last war, would look a large body in Hyde Park.
The same policy that punishes and subdues the aroused and vindictive
Kaffir, ought to encourage and sympathise with him when he is quietly
and peaceably disposed.

Since penning the preceding pages, I have read a work on Natal and the
eastern frontier of the Cape Colony, by the Rev. William Holden, who was
living at D'Urban during my pilgrimage in the same neighbourhood.  As he
was an excellent Kaffir linguist, and was always spoken of by Kaffirs
and white men with respect and affection, it is gratifying to find that
his fifteen years of experience bring him to the same conclusions, with
regard to the treatment of the Kaffirs, at which I may be considered to
have jumped hastily after only three years' investigation.  I will quote
from page 215 of his work:--

"But let not those who are invested with a little brief authority use it
in playing all sorts of fantastic tricks, or something worse.  A Kaffir
has a sharp sense of justice, and whilst he will respect and reverence
the officer who will give him just punishment for his misdeeds, he will
abhor the man who does him wanton wrong, and may be tempted to settle
accounts in his own way.

"The Kaffirs must be treated like children.  If a man has a large
family, and leaves them without restraint or control, his children
become a plague to himself and a scourge to the community.  The Kaffirs
are children of a larger growth, and must be treated accordingly;
_children_ in knowledge, ignorant of the relationships of civilised
society, and strangers to many of the motives which influence the
conduct of the white man.  But they are _men_ in physical and mental
powers; _men_ in the arts and usages of their nation, and the laws of
their country; and the great difficulty in governing them is, to treat
them as men-children, teaching them that to submit and to obey are
essential to their own welfare as well as to that of others.

"Some kind-hearted Christians will say, `This is much too severe;' but
my firm conviction, after many years' experience, is, that it is not
merely the best, but also the only way to save the native races from
ruin and annihilation; and that, had the Kaffirs on the frontier of the
old colony been treated with more apparent severity after the first war,
a second outbreak would not have taken place.  Who, I would ask, is
their best friend, the man who would save them by apparent severity, or
the man who would destroy them by mistaken kindness?  I presume the
former.  Besides, it should not be forgotten that what appears to be
severe to us is not so to them, since many of them have lived under the
iron rule of cruel capricious despots, with no security for fife or
property, and are consequently unable to appreciate or understand our
excess of civilised kindness; being strangers to those refined feelings
which operate in the breast of the Christian.  The result of too mild a
policy is, that in a few years they are changed from crouching,
terror-stricken vassals, to bold, lawless, independent barbarians."

These latter remarks may appear out of place in a book of rough sketches
of sport, but the Kaffirs were to me such trusty allies, faithful
servants, and kind instructors in many, things, that, as a small token
of gratitude for their services, I cannot refrain from making known the
rough and thorny path that they are made to tread.



CHAPTER FOURTEEN.

A BUFFALO HUNT--A SUDDEN MEETING--A KAFFIR'S ADVICE--BUFFALO KILLED--AN
AFRICAN RACE-COURSE--THE START--THE RUN--THE CHARGE--WON AT LAST--
UNPLEASANT NEIGHBOURS--THE SINGLE SPUR--LIGHT-COLOURED KAFFIRS--KNOW
THYSELF--NEGLECTED EDUCATION--BLACK AND WHITE--TOO KNOWING BY HALF--THE
FOOL'S ARGUMENT.

Monyosi, his brother, and my Kaffir Inyovu, were with me across the
Umganie one morning, when we came upon the fresh spoor of a single
buffalo.  The spoor was very neatly taken up by Monyosi, who noticed it
on some very hard and difficult ground, where it would have been totally
invisible to unskilled eyes.  The professor marked it, and, after
following for nearly two hundred yards, brought us to several other
footprints, all of that morning's date; there seemed to be about a dozen
in the herd.

We found that these buffaloes had entered the forest by one of the old
elephant-tracks, and had kept straight on as though wishing to bury
themselves in the most retired glens.  They had neither stopped to
browse or graze, but passed all the feeding-places with temperance and
self-denial.

We quickly followed on their traces, and were rewarded, after journeying
two or three miles, by finding the signs very recent: we were then only
a minute or so behind the herd.  We waited a short time to listen, and
soon heard a slight rustling of the branches to our left, which showed
us that the buffaloes were moving about.  We turned back a little, and
arranged so that we should approach them from the leeward side.  Monyosi
seemed to be more careful and cautious in his approach to these
buffaloes than I had ever seen him with elephants.  This, I afterwards
learnt, was caused by his having been knocked heels over head and nearly
killed by a wounded buffalo, some months before I made his acquaintance.
I allowed Monyosi to lead, taking care to follow close to his elbow;
the two other Kaffirs bringing up the rear of the cavalcade.

We were expecting to come upon the buffaloes at every turn, and each
muscle of Monyosi's well formed figure was seen as though strung in
readiness for a spring to the right or left.  I looked round to see if
the two Kaffirs were following close, and upon again turning my head,
saw Monyosi bringing his gun up to his shoulder.  Kaffirs generally fire
very slowly, and I had time to notice that a buffalo was standing
looking at us about five paces distant, to take a quick aim at his
forehead, and fire at the same instant with Monyosi.

None of us waited to see what was the result of our fire, but each
bolted as hard as his legs could carry him in the particular direction
that the path nearest him might lead.  I turned round and made play down
that by which we had approached, but fancying that I heard the branches
crashing behind me, I dodged short to the right up a convenient cross
path.  This proceeding was only just in time, as I saw, on looking
round, that two buffaloes had charged down the same path that I had
first followed; one of them was evidently disposed to be mischievous, as
he stopped and turned after me.  Dropping my gun, I caught at some wild
vine and quickly scrambled up a tree, and sought protection amidst its
elevated branches.  My position was now quite safe, and I could laugh at
my savage adversary.  So he also seemed to think, as he took but one
look at me and trotted away.

Of the Kaffirs I had seen nothing since we fired: they had disappeared
most miraculously.  I gave the usual whistle, and was answered at some
distance by them.  They came to the tree on which I was perched, looked
at me, my gun, and the buffalo's footprints; everything was instantly
explained to them; they shook their heads, covered their mouths with
their hands, and gave a long _w-o-w_.  After asking one or two
questions, Monyosi advised me not to run again towards the direction in
which a buffalo's head pointed, but to dart to the right or left.

We found plenty of blood on the trail, and hoped to come up with our
wounded friend.  His hardened old constitution did not seem to have
suffered much as yet; for four miles at least were passed over without
our at all appearing to gain on this old die-hard.

We had entered directly into the bush, and had consequently to retrace
all our steps to get clear again; it was nearly dark now, and twilight
is scarcely a reality near the tropics, darkness following so
immediately on daylight.  The Kaffirs proposed our stopping on the
trail, but I was unfortunately very hungry, and had a very great desire
for a bottle of Bass and a beefsteak, which I knew awaited me at home; I
therefore gave up the idea of a leaf bed, and voted for a return.  We
came along very quickly, and reached the edge of the bush after the moon
had risen some time, and had given her light in exchange for that of the
sun; she did not equal it, but she certainly made it as much like day as
it is possible for night to be; we could see everything, out of the
shades of the forest, quite as distinctly as by daylight.  A large herd
of wild-pigs had come out to have a peep at the open glade in which we
were; they loomed large in the distance, and we mistook them for
buffaloes; upon getting near enough for a shot, they were discovered to
be bush-pigs.  We shot a couple before they knew of our approach.

On the occasion that I mentioned of buffalo-shooting, while on my trip
up the country with the Kaffir Inkau, he led on quietly and steadily,
and at length stopped, and slowly raising his arm, pointed in the
direction of a large tree.  I followed his point, and saw a fine old
buffalo standing with his ears moving about, and his snout in the air.
I brought both barrels to the full cock, by the "artful dodge," without
noise, and gave the contents to him right and left behind the shoulder,
when he sprang forward, and dashed wildly through the forest.  After
rushing a hundred yards or so, at full speed, he dropped dead.

I went across the Umlass for a week's shooting with a Kaffir named
M'untu; near his kraal there was some undulating ground sprinkled with
bush, which was said to be visited occasionally by buffalo.  Having one
of my horses fit to go, I was anxious for a gallop after these
wide-awake fellows.  Starting at peep of day, I found a herd of ten or
twelve grazing near a ravine; they saw or heard me from a considerable
distance, and sneaked into the ravine.

It is curious how soon a white man's approach causes alarm to the wild
animals of Africa.  Whilst a Kaffir can pass about almost unnoticed, the
former is at once a cause of terror.

I entered the ravine, and by shouting and firing a shot scattered the
herd of buffaloes in a few minutes; I did not get close to them in the
ravine, but saw them topping the ridge outside.

I was soon after them: the country was undulating, with a little bush
here and there.  I yelled at the troop as they galloped along huddled
together, and turned them from a thick patch of bush, for which they
were making, into a large flat open plain with short springy turf.  Here
is the Epsom of Africa; a lawn of twenty-five miles, flat as a
billiard-table is the course, the match is p.p., the parties are a stout
little thirteen hands high pony with eleven stone on his back, and a
bull-buffalo sixteen hands high with a feather weight.  Now what are the
odds--who will bet two to one on the buffalo?  No takers!  An even bet I
name the winner.  What is the opinion of the jackal, I wonder, who is
peeping over the shoulders of his young family from out of the hole that
has been his residence since the ant-bear who built it was killed last
year by a leopard?  What will the Bushman lay against the _inthumba_
(buffalo) being dropped in the first two miles?  This fellow does not
care much which is the winner, he only wishes to see one or the other
killed.  From his hiding-place in the rocky crannies, he watches the
race with great excitement.  If the buffalo is killed, he is sure to
fall in for a share of the meat.  If the white man breaks his neck in
some of the jackals' holes or game-pits, it will be hard lines if this
own brother to the baboons does not manage to have a good ride that very
night on the saddle that the _umlungo_ (white man) lately occupied.

Now they are all ready for the start,--great excitement in the crowd.
Jackals shuffle and shriek; even the hyaena, that has hitherto appeared
asleep, wakes up and gives an hysterical laugh; the vultures and eagles,
from the top of their grand stand high up in the clouds, have a capital
view, wheeling slowly round, in readiness either to gorge the flesh of
the buffalo or pollute that of the white hunter.  The hoofs of the horse
striking on the ground act the part of starting-bell; the hunter's
approach is thus discovered; the buffalo whirls his tail, and the
Umlungo bends in his saddle; and "They're off!" would be the remark were
any there to make it.  But no, not a living soul is seen; all is earth,
sky, and wild animals.  One white man is the only thing bearing God's
image that is now within ten miles, and he is employed in fulfilling the
ordinance that "over every beast of the field shalt thou have dominion."
The Bushman, on the distant rocky mountain, sees the race plainly
without the aid of a telescope, and watches intently what is so
intelligible to his experienced eyes, but what would be to some of our
highly scientific savants' visions like two indistinct specks.  The
fight weight takes the lead at a rattling pace, and leaves the eleven
stone far behind; he trusts to his speed, but still thinks it may be
necessary to keep those rocky mountains under his lee, in which to
retreat, as a sort of nest-egg.  Away they go; flowering geraniums and
candelabra-shaped amaryllis are trodden down as though the veriest weeds
on earth.  "Cluck, cluck--click, click--_nhlpr-nh_!"  Why is the Bushman
so excited?  Ah! he knows all about it; the buffalo has turned a little,
and is now making for some old game-pits, with a sharp stake in the
middle of each.  Now, what a chance!--both buffalo and horse may be
engulphed--all three perhaps killed!  What a glorious finale this would
be!  Fancy the jollification of buffalo beef to commence with, and a
second course of horseflesh, while between the mouthfuls a knife might
be driven in spite between the ribs of the broken-necked white man,
whose body would be lying by!  What would be a feast of turtle and
venison compared to this?  In England you don't know how to live and
feast like a Bushman.  Unfortunately, and bad luck for "Cluck-click,"
neither buffalo nor horse has yet broken his neck.  There is no one
looking on to see how the horse goes,--no one to give another fifty for
him,--no one to see how he crossed that old watercourse; and yet how
boldly the man rides.  He is not riding in this style merely to sell the
animal: he does not look round to see if any of the swells of the field
are watching him, and then for applause, or money in prospect, cram his
horse at a stiff rail, at which his craven heart would not dare even to
look were no man near.  No! it must really be that the heart and soul of
this desert rider are in his sport, and that he feels--

  "There is rapture to vault on the champing steed.
  And bound away with the eagle's speed,
  With the death-fraught firelock in his hand,
  The only law of the desert land."

A streak of blood on the black hide of the buffalo, and foam from his
mouth, tell a tale that he has not run thus far even without being
distressed in more ways than one.  Now they are near the Bushman's box,
who sits like a judge to see them come in.  Hi! hi! here they come!
there they go!  Bang, bang! the buffalo stumbles; he got the second
barrel in the ribs.  The horse begins to reel in his gallop a little,
but, being well held together by his rider, he has at least another mile
still in him; now the hunter rides nearly alongside the bull, and it is
neck and neck.  What a change! tables turned!  Truly it is so; the
hunter is the hunted.  The buffalo, with head low, is charging; the
rider, steering his horse with firm hand, and a watchful eye on the
_inthumba_, suddenly wheels, and, dropping apparently off his horse,
steadily aims at his riderless competitor; two little white puffs of
smoke may be seen, and a thousand echoing guns are heard, like a volley,
from the surrounding mountains.  The buffalo has had enough; he quietly
drops on his knees, lays his head on the ground, doubles his hind-legs
under him, and reposes at full length on the plain, to rise no more.
The race is run; the Derby won by the thirteen hands and eleven stone.
The prize is valueless as regards money; the flesh is given to Kaffirs
who are sent after it; the head and horn are too heavy to carry--but the
tail is the prize.  This trophy, years afterwards, may be looked at by
some Nimrod of sparrows--questions asked about it; and in response to
the information that it is the tail of an angry old buffalo that was
taken after a long run, and when the owner had been shot whilst
charging, this hero may then inform you that he thinks that sort of
sport must be rather good fun, and it is just the style of thing to suit
him.  The prize is of no value save to the winner.  Who can paint the
feelings that he enjoys, however, as he sits and contemplates this poor
old dried bit of skin and hair, and looks back on the beginning and end
of the run in which his hand, without aid, won it?  Can it be that a
single mind only enters thoroughly into a scene like that which I have
feebly described, and that the memory has drunk so deeply of the
details, stirring to itself, but valueless to others, that the mere look
of the prize suffices to recall the scene.

Is it not a greater proof of sense and of the power of intellect than
arguing whether Brown's conduct was right in submitting to be told that
he was anything but what he should be; or in calculating what, ought to
be the fair odds if the Middleham colt gives 7 pounds-weight to the b.f.
by Sir Sutton,--or--or--Well, we will suppose it is a mad corner; it may
be a treat to some, as sense and intellect are so very common, to have a
little madness now and then.  I for one am content to be thus afflicted
every day of my life, as long as I am not confined in Hanwell, or
prevented from roaming in thought over lands blessed with the sun and
air pure from heaven, in place of bronchitial fogs, foul sewers, and
gloomy skies.  We will suppose that the eleven stone told, and the horse
was beaten; no matter, we have no lost our money or our honour.  We need
not take a trip to the continent as it nears the settling day at the
Corner; we have only to jog quietly back to the kraal or the camp: a
day's rest, and all one's losses are regained, and disappointments
recovered.  Hurrah for the desert!

------------------------------------------------------------------------

While riding about near some kraals, not far from M'untu Umculu's, I saw
a very fine herd of Zulu cattle; they are beautiful little creatures,
looking more as though they were a cross between an antelope and a cow
than merely common cattle.  I approached them to have a nearer look,
when they seemed equally disposed to stare at me.  We stood thus for
about a minute, when two or three young bulls came forward quite close
to me; others followed, the first advanced, more came in front of them,
and I found that I was getting regularly hemmed in by these curious
gentlemen.  I therefore turned tail, and walked quietly away; they
followed me rapidly, coming in the most impertinent manner with their
horns within a foot or two of my legs.  I shouted at them, but it merely
seemed to raise their anger, as they stamped furiously; they were
evidently unaccustomed to receive white men with courtesy.  I saw they
were working themselves up for mischief, so dropped the spur into the
horse and rode for it, when they came after me at once, leaping and
prancing with their tails erect.  I really began to think it was no
joke, and that I should have had to put a bullet through one of their
heads as an example.  As, however, such a proceeding would very likely
have embroiled me with the Kaffirs, I rode on.  I saw an old Kaffir in a
mealie garden at a short distance, so rode towards him and shouted; he
rushed down to meet me, and waving his skin cloak, gave some
tremendously shrill whistles.  He looked like a demon forbidding the
advance of his imps.  The effect was magical; the half-wild cattle
stopped, and I jumped off my frightened horse to ask the old Kaffir how
it all was.  He said that the bulls did not know much about white men
and horses, and perhaps thought that I was some wild animal come to
destroy their young.  I must own I looked rather a rough customer, and
my clothes were not in the best condition--but still this was too bad.
I have, however, seen in our most public thoroughfares, men who might
easily be mistaken by an unfashionable herd of cattle for "wild animals
come to destroy their calves."  I mention dropping the "_spur_" which
may require explanation.  One only of these weapons is used in the
colony and this single spur is buckled on the left heel, as, in
dismounting and mounting so frequently as is here necessary, the right
spur becomes inconvenient, and may scratch the horse's back in throwing
the leg over.  The reason given is, that it _is_ inconvenient, and also
that if one side of the horse is made to go, most probably the other
will go also.

While staying at this kraal, I was visited by a Kaffir who had all the
features of a European; he told me that his mother was as his
forefinger, and then, pointing to his little finger, said that mother
was a white woman, that she came out of the sea, and had been the wife
of a chief.  I was much interested in all this, as the white woman of
whom he spoke, was without doubt one of those unfortunates who were
saved from the wrecks of the _Grosvenor_ and another ship, who had seen
all their male relatives and ship-friends murdered, and were then forced
to become the wives of the Kaffir chiefs or principal men.  The
descendants of these mixed people can even now be traced in some of the
light-coloured Kaffirs of the Amaponda, the Umzimvubu, and Umzimculu;
and it is not improbable that a small rivulet of the blood of the
Howards may be even now flowing in oblivion under the dark hide of a
naked assagy-throwing, snuff-taking heathen of Africa.  Some things that
this Kaffir told me were strange and curious.  Memory here serves as a
library.  It is a book of reference much in use, and one that is
therefore nearer perfection than can be conceived by those whose ivory
tablets or ledgers daily record events.

South Africa is an excellent country in which to obtain a knowledge of
ourselves; solitude being so common and unavoidable a contingency that
we soon become perfectly reconciled to our own society, and learn to
argue and reason as though with another person.  If we are worsted in
this encounter, we have the same satisfaction that Dr Johnson had,
knowing that we supply our adversary's arguments as well as our own.  An
excellent and good understanding here exists between our outer and inner
selves, and each individual knows his own respective worth.

It is a land in which one's value as a man is decided, in the unerring
scale of trial, to an ounce.  It is pleasant to know one's true
position, if only for a short time, and even if much lower than we have
been accustomed to consider our due.  It prevents us from making many
mistakes, and deters us from undertaking many things that we could only
blunder through did we attempt.

The very slight knowledge that the bustle of civilised society permits
us to gain of ourselves, causes us sometimes to commit grievous errors,
that may render us ridiculous to the reasoning bystander.  We may pride
and plume ourselves on merits and qualities that we do not really
possess, but that only exist in idea, caused by the flattering of our
_friends_, or some chance of fortune.  We then have a way of reposing,
with a self-satisfied and complacent air, on imaginary laurels that we
never have culled, and, did we but really know ourselves, might be
perfectly certain we never should.

An Englishman has such a just appreciation of what is true and genuine,
that I am sure he would be delighted at having his perfections thus
correctly made known to him.  Even supposing he has for tens of years
previously hugged himself with too favourable an idea of them, there may
still be a sufficient time left for him to cram this real knowledge of
himself.  Even if he get but a smattering, still it will prepare him in
a measure, and therefore make the shock less at that great trial at
which we must all, sooner or later, have our merits weighed, and in
which good fortune and riches will be considered as only additional
trusts for which we shall have to account satisfactorily.

So frequently have some of my most certain axioms turned out myths,
that.  I have long since come to the conclusion that I _know_ absolutely
nothing at all.

I have been put down so completely by naked Kaffirs and dirty Hottentots
on the subject of South-African spooring, etc., of which I might
otherwise easily have fancied I knew something, from having lived the
gipsy-like life of a savage for upwards of two years, and during that
time having been occupied night and day in the pursuit of wild animals,
and gathering information from the natives--that I frequently now listen
attentively and patiently to criticisms on the sporting proceedings of
such men as Sir Cornwallis Harris and Gordon Cumming, oracularly
delivered by gentlemen whose experiences have been gathered from
watching the deer in Greenwich Park, or from knocking over a
cock-pheasant in the well-preserved covers of their private manors.  For
I always remembered that these people _might_ know more on the subject
than the sporting giants whom they are attempting to vilify.

Well do I remember on one occasion being the butt of at least a dozen
Kaffirs, for no other reason than because I could not tell whether a
buffalo had galloped or only walked over some hard and grassy ground,
that retained less impression than a dry turnpike-road.  How amusing it
was to see them sitting down on purpose to quiz me, pointing to each
footmark, that to my dull perception was little more than the scratch of
a penknife, and then asking if I could not now see the pace at which the
animal had moved.  I was compelled to acknowledge myself a dunce, and to
explain to them that my education in early youth had been in this
particular science dreadfully neglected.  They would then show and
explain to me how I was to judge of these things in future, with a
kindness and simplicity that were very beautiful.

This proceeding is nearly a type of what takes place in civilisation,
where it frequently happens that a man is politely sneered at because he
is unacquainted with the slang or local joke of some particular clique,
or does not submissively follow the habits and fashions of the reigning
set.  Human nature, whether black, red, or white, is very much alike all
over the world; each to the unseasoned eye has its special peculiarities
and prominent points of ridicule, and I doubt whether a Zulu chief and
_umfazi_, with their scanty attire of strips of skins and bead and
feather ornaments, would produce more ridicule were they to walk up
Regent-street, than would an English gentleman fashionably attired, or a
lady with looped and festooned dress and embroidered under-garment, at
the court of Kaffirland.

In every land and in every society, men are found who think they raise
themselves, or show that they have unlimited penetration, by trying to
cast disbelief on the statements of others, and thus endeavour to prove
that they themselves are very wise men.  Now, I would sooner be what is
vulgarly called humbugged half a dozen times, by some man relating to me
a falsehood, after assuring me he was merely telling the truth, than I
would once cast disbelief on a true statement.  In the first case, the
sin is on the relater; and we merely believed him to be a truth-teller
when he was in reality a bar.  But in the second case we expose our
ignorance, by often thinking that impossible which really exists, or we
insult an honest man by doubting his honesty, and injure ourselves by
shutting our ears to the reception of facts.

On the morning after my tree interview with the elephant, I happened to
mention to an English _gentleman_ of the sort that I have described,
what a curious scene I had witnessed on the previous day.  It was
against my established rule, however, to relate anything connected with
sporting matters to persons whom I casually met, but on this occasion my
usual caution had left me.  I was plainly told by this gentleman that he
did not believe me.  I was not angry; but as this was a person who might
be described as so knowing that he actually believed nothing at all, I
gave him plenty of opportunities to commit himself.

There is an old saying, that "a bet is a fool's argument."  It is,
however, frequently the only argument that will convince some people,
and it proved so with the person whom I have mentioned.  I offered to
make him a bet that I could prove that the elephants _did_ come to me
under the tree, and in fact that everything had happened just as I had
stated it.  He tried to escape from this trial, but I plainly told him,
that if he did not accept the offer, it would be an acknowledgment that
he was wrong.  The bet was made, and I was to give my proof.

I called in two witnesses, and then related what had happened with the
elephants on the previous day, taking care to give every detail.  I then
sent for a white man, who I knew spoke the Kaffir language very well, to
act as interpreter, and also sent for my Kaffir Inyovu, who was up the
tree with me.  On their arrival, Inyovu was requested to state what had
happened in the bush on the previous day.  He at first said that he
wished me as his chief to speak; but upon my requesting him to give his
own account, he spoke nearly word for word what I had previously said.
I then requested that any two Kaffirs might be sent on our spoor, and
the tree examined that we had ascended on the day before; but my
doubting gentleman hauled down his colours, although with a very bad
grace, and acknowledged that he now believed the whole account.

The money I intended returning to him, after I had proved my adventure
to have been true, but unfortunately was unable to do so, because it was
never paid to me.

I recommend this ordeal to others who may be annoyed by such mosquito
sort of gentry; it may not be quite right on principle, but is very
decisive and convincing.  I know one gentleman, however, who avoids this
fiery trial, by asserting that he makes it a rule never to bet.  For him
it is a most useful rule, as he is so invariably obstinate, and at the
same time wrong, that were he to fall into ungenerous hands, his
obstinacy or his money would soon melt away, and I am disposed to think
that the latter would be the sooner lost.



CHAPTER FIFTEEN.

KAFFIR KILLED BY A SNAKE--MEDICINE NECKLACES--NARROW ESCAPE--
PUFF-ADDERS--ADVENTURE WITH A BLACK SNAKE--SNAKES DISTRESSED BY THEIR
OWN POISON--POISON-SPITTING SNAKE--A DAY'S SPORT--BOA-CONSTRICTOR
KILLED--ITS MODE OF ATTACK--SIZE OF THE SLAIN SNAKE--SECRETARY-BIRD.

One morning Inyovu, in great distress, came to tell me that his father
had been bitten by a very poisonous snake, and he was afraid that he
would not live.  As his kraal was only ten miles distant, I determined
to ride over, and see what aid I could give; taking with me some _eau de
luce_ and a sharp penknife, in case it was requisite.  Upon arriving at
the huts, all appeared calm and tranquil, and I hoped that the man had
recovered.  I was, however, coolly informed that he had been dead some
time.  Inquiring into the matter, I found that the snake was a large
black one, called by the Kaffirs _M'namba Umkulu_, or great puff-adder;
it did not resemble the ordinary puff-adder in colour, size, or
character, being larger, quite black, and having none of the peculiar
puffing which the puff-adder always shows when he is irritated.  The
larger snake is as highly poisonous as the common puff-adder, and quite
as much dreaded.  The man was bitten in the leg, above the knee, and not
having his snake-charm with him at the time, of course could not hope to
be saved.  These charms are of peculiar kinds of wood, and are worn
round the neck, and strung like beads; the bits of wood being of all
shapes, and about the size of large beans.  Each separate piece has its
_specialite_; one is to cure laziness, others the bites of snakes,
others diseases of cattle, and also to enable the wearer to escape from
the dangerous game which he may be hunting.  These pieces of wood were
eaten by the Kaffirs whenever they were ill or in danger; it appeared as
though a kind of homoeopathic dose only was necessary, as but a very
small portion was taken as a remedy.  I but once took of this medicine,
and I must bear witness to its efficacy in my case.

I suffered very much one day from the heat, and feeling a great
lassitude coming over me, I told Monyosi that I could not go any further
into the bush, giving him my reason.  He at once said that he had some
medicine, especially for this complaint, from which he very frequently
suffered.  (I strongly suspect that his only complaint was laziness.)
He offered me a piece, which I accepted on condition that he should also
eat a bit.  It tasted something like rhubarb, but was also very bitter,
and hot.  In a few minutes, strange to say, I felt quite recovered, and
walked many hours in the bush without distress.

Inyovu's father, from what I could gather, must have lived about three
hours between the period of the bite and his death; this would not give
a person much time to be "shriven."  I saw his body, and it did not seem
to be much swollen or altered.  The number of poisonous snakes in this
district was a great drawback to the delight of the sport; for when
walking through long grass one was never certain that some horrid
serpent was not ready to give a bite that would speedily terminate one's
career.  Although this dread gradually wore off, it was occasionally
refreshed in the memory by some narrow escape from being bitten.

For example, I once shot a coran across the Umganie, and as it fell
amongst some long grass and bushes, I could not find it, and for some
time pushed the grass about with my ramrod.  Suddenly a something, that
looked like a broad dead leaf, rose up almost under my hand from amongst
the brushwood that I had turned over.  It was about a foot from me, and
only attracted my attention by a sort of waving motion, as it was a good
deal concealed by the grass, and upon looking at it, I perceived it was
a hideous cobra, with its hood extended.  I stood like a statue, and the
snake dropped down and glided away.  Why it did not bite me I know not,
as I must have struck it unintentionally with my ramrod.  These things
are over in a few seconds, but one travels over a long space of time
during their occurrence, and the impressions which they leave are most
vivid.

When it slid away I first truly realised the danger in which I had been,
and jumped from the spot as though the ground had been red-hot.  I
feared also that I might have been bitten unconsciously, and was thus
anything but happy for several hours.  I searched no more for my wounded
coran in that place!

I was in the habit of bathing morning and evening in the Natal Bay, and
selected some old piles, the remains of a pier, as the most convenient
place from which to jump, as the water became deep just beyond the last
of them.  An old pile-driving machine stood on the sands close by, and
it had a low square platform which was an excellent substitute for a
dressing-room.  One warm evening I had undressed as usual, and was
walking over the deep sand to the plank from which I took my accustomed
header, when I noticed the sand began to heave about a yard in front of
me, and the broad ace-of-clubs shaped head of a puff-adder rise up in a
threatening attitude.  I should not have been more astonished had I seen
a whale in the same place, as no cover for a snake was near, and it
seemed such a very unlikely locality.  I jumped back immediately, and
looked about for a stick or stone; before I could find either, however,
the adder had shaken the sand from his back, and quietly glided under
the little platform on which all my clothes were lying.  I gave up the
idea of bathing that night, and began to think how I was to regain my
raiment.  I kept a watchful eye on the lower part of the platform, and
creeping up to it, made a sudden grab at my clothes and bolted away.  I
took care to shake each article very carefully before putting it on, but
more particularly my boots, for on my first arrival in the colony, a
kind friend informed me that boots were a favourite resting-place for
snakes.  And to assist the idea he had inserted a hair brush into one of
them, and, just as I was pulling it on, shouted for me to "look out for
the snake."  I arranged a grand attack on the snake's residence the
following day, when two full-grown and five young puff-adders were
killed.  It was very fortunate that none of these adders had ever taken
a fancy to locate themselves in the leg of my trousers, or the arm of my
coat, for the sake of warmth, during the time that I was cooling myself
in the water.  This family must have been under the driving machine for
some weeks, and I have no doubt they admired the very regular attention
that I daily paid to my ablutions.  I fear that the stamping always
necessary in drawing on a boot after bathing, must have sadly annoyed
the young fry.  I never liked going near this place afterwards, and was
obliged in consequence to invest some capital in a square board upon
which to perform my toilet.

I had another escape from a snake near the Sea-cow Lake, about six miles
from Natal.  I had been looking for a duiker, which I was anxious to
shoot for the purpose of concocting a bowl of soup, this particular
animal being celebrated for that purpose.  As I was slowly walking
through the grass, something just in advance of me moved and the grass
shook.  I stepped back, preparing for a shot, as I expected a buck to
spring up.  Instead of a duiker, I saw the broad head of a black snake,
of a most poisonous species, rise up little more than a yard from me,
and draw his head back as though about to strike.  I felt a
disinclination to raise the gun to my shoulder to fire at him, thinking
that he might then spring at me, so taking a quick aim from the hip, I
fired, and nearly blew his head off.  He tumbled over, and, with one
twist, expired.  I approached carefully, and found him to be a very
large black snake, about seven feet long, and nearly as thick as my arm.
I took him home, and on dissection saw that his poison-fangs were three
quarters of an inch long, and the bag above them was full of poison.  A
bite from this fellow would have settled my account with this world in
about three hours.

It is a very difficult thing to recommend a care for a poisonous
snake's-bite.  One of the most simple and classic is to suck the part.
When a person is alone, this is of course only possible if he is bitten
in the hands, arms, or low down in the legs.  Cutting out the bitten
part is considered the best remedy, but this requires a tolerable amount
of nerve and determination.  Some say that running about most
perseveringly will keep off the stupor that generally follows the
reception of this powerful poison into the blood.  Happily, having no
personal experience in snake-bites, I cannot speak with certainty about
their cure.

I am under the impression that the poisonous snakes are much troubled,
at certain seasons of the year, by the poison-bladder becoming
surcharged, and that thus, being anxious to rid themselves of this
poison by biting something soft, and thereby pressing it out, they
naturally seize the first thing which their instinct tells them will not
injure their poisonous fangs.  Two instances that occurred at Natal
appear to bear out this theory.  A Hottentot was crossing the Mooi river
drift, another man following a short distance in the rear.  The last man
saw a snake dart out from some rocks, seize the first Hottentot by the
leg, and glide back again; the bitten man died within a very short time
of receiving the bite.  There is at the present time a man in the Royal
Arsenal at Woolwich, who, when far up the country with his master, and
walking near the waggons, perceived a puff-adder spring at his face.  He
suddenly lowered his head, and the snake wound itself round his
wide-awake hat.  The man knocked the hat off, and the snake was
immediately shot by a looker-on.  The puff-adder always springs
backwards, and can make extraordinary leaps.  There is a very fine
specimen now to be seen in the Zoological Gardens, Regent's Park.

I have heard from both Dutchmen and Kaffirs that there is a snake which
spits out its poison at any one who may approach, and makes capital
shots.  Blindness often follows if the victim is struck in the eyes, and
a horrible disease of the skin if the face or hands are touched by the
poisonous secretion.  I am not aware of the appearance or name of this
reptile.  Besides the venomous snakes that I have mentioned as being
common about Natal, there is also a species of boa-constrictor which
grows to a considerable size; and although this snake is not dangerous,
still it is slaughtered by man whenever met, as it is destructive to
birds and small bucks.  I shot six of these during my prowlings around
the bush and swamps of Natal; the largest was shot when I was in company
with an English gentleman who rarely went out shooting and was a prey to
despair almost before he had commenced.  As the whole of that day's
proceedings serve to show that it is well never to give up or to throw
away a chance, I will describe them in detail.

We had for nearly four hours continually searched kloofs and ravines,
but we had seen no game whatsoever.  As we were riding over a little
hill, I thought I saw something move on an opposite ridge, a little
behind me and on my left hand.  I would not look round, but rode
steadily away until we had passed over the hill and were quite out of
sight of whatever had caught my attention.  I then mentioned to my
companion that I fancied I had seen something more on the opposite hill,
and that I purposed creeping back to have a second look.  He voted for
_riding_ over the hill, but this I would not hear of.

Keeping well down in the grass, I managed to peep through a tree, and
there saw a fine reitbok looking after us.  He stood up for about a
minute as if he were watching to see if we had really gone away, when,
seeming to think everything safe, he laid himself down again.  I
reported what I had seen to my impatient companion, and proposed that we
should make a long round, and come upon the buck from the opposite side.
We, therefore, left our horses, and crossed the ravine between the two
hills on foot, taking care to keep well out of sight.  I drew my charge
of shot and loaded, so as to have a bullet in each barrel; my friend
preferring two heavy doses of buckshot.  All being in readiness, we
approached the ground that I had marked as the reitbok's lair, and were
within fifty yards of it, when the buck got the alarm and bounded off.
I had only a snap shot at him, my friend fired at the same instant, and
the buck fell.  We ran up, and, to the evident disappointment of one of
the party, found that the buck had been killed by a bullet-wound which
had passed close to the backbone.  There was not a single shot-hole in
him besides this one; there could be no mistake, therefore, about the
arm which delivered the death-wound.  We brought the horses to the spot,
mounted the dead buck on my pony, and then took up a fresh line of
country in hopes of finding another buck.  We went some distance with no
luck, when my dog flushed a covey of red-winged partridges.  We
dismounted, and walked about beating the bushes, when I suddenly noticed
that he was pointing at a small clump of bush; he did not stand as
though it were a bird, but occasionally drew his head back quickly.  I
called him away, fearing it might be a poisonous snake or a leopard,
and, approaching the bush with caution, peeped through the branches, and
saw the thick body of an enormous boa-constrictor moving very slowly
away.  I instantly sent a bullet through the part of the body that I
saw, and sprang back, when the bushes were violently shaken as though
the constrictor thought this sudden attack was anything but
satisfactory.  I now loaded the discharged barrel with a heavy dose of
buckshot, and advanced to the bush.  Holding my gun out at arm's length,
I pushed the branches gently on one side to get a peep at my antagonist
and see how he liked what I had done.  The snake was very artful, and
waited quite quietly until I stooped a little to get a better view, when
he darted out his head, making a sort of lunge at me; he opened his
tremendous jaws as he came, and then suddenly drew back.  I stepped away
quickly to avoid this attack, and gave the boa my charge of buckshot
between the eyes before he got out of sight.  Turning his head round, he
seized his body with his fangs, gave a wriggle, and died.

His mode of attack gave me an insight into the method by which this
species of snake destroys animals.  The teeth of boa-constrictors being
long, bent, and turned back, something in the fish-hook shape, the
snakes dart out in the manner I have just described, and seize hold of
their prey.  Then drawing their heads back again, they pull the animal
to the ground at once, and, coiling round it, commence the crushing
process.  This power of squeezing must be enormous.  On attempting to
skin this animal, the muscles inside had the appearance of strings of
rope extending from the head to the tail; these he seemed to have the
power of contracting or extending, so that a part that might be three
feet long as he coiled himself round your body, could be instantly
reduced to about a foot, by this means giving any one in his embrace a
very tolerable squeeze.  I have before remarked that these snakes are
not considered dangerous to man, as they are not poisonous; and if those
attacked had a sharp knife, and managed to keep their arms free, Mr
Snake would get the worst of it.  If one happened, however, to be
asleep, and a boa-constrictor then became familiar, he might so have
wound himself round arms and body as to prevent a knife being used.  I
have no doubt that they have power sufficient to crush any man to death
in a very few seconds, did they once get themselves comfortably settled
round his ribs; but I never heard of such a case during my residence at
Natal, although I made every inquiry from the Kaffirs.  Formerly there
was a great deal of superstition amongst the Kaffirs with regard to this
snake, and a person who killed one had to go through a quarantine of
purifying; now, however, the Kaffirs do not seem to care much about
them.  I saw an old fellow near the Umbilo River pinning a large
boa-constrictor to the ground with several assagies to prevent its
wriggling; he had about a dozen different ones stuck into its body, and
seemed to think a few more would do no harm.  He told me that the snake
was a great rascal, and had killed a calf of his some time before; that
he had long watched for an opportunity of catching it out of its hole,
and at last found it so, when a smart race of some yards ended in the
Kaffir assagying the veal-eater.

We tried to skin the boa-constrictor that I had shot, but found great
difficulty in separating the skin from the muscles, and his odour was
strong and disagreeable.  Whenever we put in the knife so as to touch
his nerves, he made a little sort of jump that was anything but
pleasant.  We contented ourselves, therefore, with a piece of his skin
about six inches long, which remained our only trophy.  The colours of
this boa were very brilliant, and they had a bloom on them like a ripe
plum; he was evidently up to good living, for he had breakfasted that
day on a partridge, as was shown by the _post-mortem_.  His length was
21 feet, and circumference about 1 foot 6 inches; he must have weighed
about 200 pounds.

Our bag on this day was a reitbok, a boa-constrictor, and a brace and a
half of partridges.  I believe that we should not have obtained either
of the larger animals, had it not been for a second examination of the
suspicious moving grass in the manner that I have mentioned.  Had we
stopped at once to look at the object, the buck would have bounded away
without a moment's notice, but as it was, he fancied he was unobserved
and secure.

I give these details to show on what small hinges success in
South-African sport may turn.

The Kaffirs reported that a boa-constrictor lived in some long reeds
near the Umganie, and they said it was an enormous animal, and fully
fifty feet long.  I once saw its spoor on the sand, and judged that it
must be nearly thirty feet long.  On several occasions I sought
interviews with it, but was unsuccessful in finding it at home.  It is
always better to give all snakes a wide berth, and not to go out of
one's way to destroy them, unless they have taken up their residence in
or near your house, or their destruction can be accomplished with ease
and safety.

Many snakes of South Africa are not poisonous: a very good plan for
telling them is to notice the shape of their head; anything approaching
the form of the ace-of-clubs, or a breadth across the forehead as it
were, is indicative of venom; while those with the narrow lizardlike
heads are harmless.

The secretary-bird is one of the greatest destroyers of snakes, and
either is proof against their bites or is too active to be bitten.  He
seizes them generally by the neck, and goes sailing aloft with a long
reptile wriggling about in agonies.  If the bird finds the snake
troublesome during his aerial voyage, he lets it fall a few thousand
feet on to the hardest ground, and then quickly following after, takes
the snake on another trip.  A fine in money is very properly imposed in
the Cape colony on the destroyer of one of these birds.



CHAPTER SIXTEEN.

AN INVITATION--TERRIFIC STORM--SILENT ELOQUENCE--MOUNTED BUSHMEN--THE
BUSHMAN AS AN ENEMY--A DUTCH HUNTER--GALLANT DEFENCE--A COCKNEY
TRAVELLER--BOER INCREDULITY--BRITISH DISBELIEF--ADVENTURE WITH A
BUSHMAN--AFRICAN RIVERS--CHANGE OF SENTIMENTS.

During another visit of some months at Pietermaritzburg, where I had
some excellent reitbok and ourebi shooting, I accepted an invitation to
a friend's residence near the sources of the Umganie.  A night passed
under the canopy of heaven was never to me a matter much to be feared,
if good sport was the result; and these residences on the border of the
game country made very good starting points for two or three days'
roughing it in the open plains.  With my two horses and a Kaffir, I
started with a very vague idea as to the position of my friend's
residence.  I crossed the Umganie near the falls, and struck off to the
left of the road that leads to Bushman's River, and after riding about
three hours, I made inquiry from some Kaffirs whom I met about the
distance I was to go.  Their explanation of distance is by the single
word _hide_; it expresses how long, from a day's journey to a mile, the
_ku_ being dwelt on for about ten seconds, means a long way.  When it is
spoken quickly, the place asked for is close; in the present instance,
the _ku--u--u--de_ was expressive of several miles.  As it was near
sunset, I asked where the sun would be when I arrived at my destination.
They told me that if I "_cachema_" (rode fast or ran), the sun would
set before I had gone more than so far, pointing to about half of a
stick he held in his hand; this explanation gave me as good an idea of
the distance, as though he had told it me in miles and furlongs.  We
pushed on as fast as we could; but as there was no road, and the sun
occasionally hidden by dark clouds, it was difficult to keep exactly the
course, especially as many deep ravines crossed our intended road.  As
the sun was going down, there seemed every sign of a severe storm.
Those only who have seen a tropical thunder-storm can judge what a
pleasant prospect there was before us, for an open plain affords a poor
shelter from its violence.  As no sign of a habitation appeared on the
line we were pursuing, I struck off to the right, where a kloof a mile
distant offered a prospect of shelter.  On reaching it, some large
trees, with the usual creepers spreading over them, made a fairish
shield against the expected pelting shower.  I off-saddled the horses,
making them fast to a tree.  I sat upon one of the saddles, covered with
a blanket I usually carried under it, and made the Kaffir do the same
with the other.  The deep gloom and heavy clouds that had advanced from
the horizon over our heads, and sped along as if by express, caused
darkness in a few minutes.  The slight gusts of wind, wild and
unmeaning, rustled the leaves about in an unnatural sort of way, while
little whirlwinds seemed to search out every small track of sand, and
raise it in revolving clouds.  The birds flew for shelter in the kloof,
and flitted about from tree to tree, as though anxious and alarmed at
the signs of the coming storm.  The horses would not eat the grass that
was almost tickling their noses, but, with one ear forward and the other
back, showed by their restlessness a sense of the approach of the demon
of storm.  The storm approached _too_--like a demon.  From the deep
black horizon vivid flashes of lightning dashed with uncounted rapidity,
the answering thunder not being in distinct and separate claps, but in
one sullen roar; nearer and nearer it came with giant strides, while
where I sat, all was still quiet, save the slight complaining sound of
an occasional whirlwind among the trees.  I could mark the course of the
storm, as it came nearer, as easily as that of a troop of horse.  First,
the dust in dense clouds, with leaves and grass, etc., was driven
furiously along; then came the rain (it ought to have had some other
name, it was no more like the thing called rain in England than the
Atlantic is like a pond), its force laid every thing flat before it--the
lightning following with blinding brilliancy.  This storm was like a
whole host of common thunderstorms in a fury.  The kloof that I was in
offered me no shelter against these torrents, and I was wet to the skin
in about one minute, the water running out of my clothes.  I was obliged
to shut my eyes and cover them with my hand, to stop the pain caused by
the dazzling of the pale blue sparks, which flew from one side of the
horizon to the other, and from the heavens to the earth, with messages
that no man could read.  The whole thing was like the encounter of a
vast host, one fleeing, the other pursuing--it came and was gone in half
an hour.  The moon then appeared with its beautiful silvery light, the
furious hurricane having passed on its course to the vast plains and
mountains of the mysterious interior.  Every insect who possessed "a
shrill small horn" now began piping it in rejoicing, the cricket and
beetles making the air vibrate with the sharp note they utter; while on
the plains in front of me, a couple of antelopes walked out to graze,
conscious already that the danger was over.  After a severe storm all
the animal creation seem on the move, and, although it was long past the
bed-time of the feathered inhabitants of the ravine, they began hitting
about from tree to tree; while some green parrots that seemed to reside
here, and had been caught in the storm, and therefore obliged to seek
shelter elsewhere, returned in parties of twos and threes, and were then
noisily welcomed by their more fortunate fellows.  My Kaffir seemed awed
by the lightning and thunder; he ate a little of his "_muti_" (charmed
medicine) that was round his neck, and sat immovable.  When the storm
had passed he looked steadily at me for a few seconds, covering his
mouth with his hand in his usual way, shook his head two or three times,
and shut his eyes.  One must have seen his performance to have judged of
his eloquence.

As the night was so brilliant, I determined to push on and try to find
my friend's location, for I was unpleasantly moist, and everything was
so wet that fighting a fire would have been no easy matter.  In Africa
we travel by "direction:" "Go out in that direction for two days, and
you will come to my house," is about the amount of information you
frequently get.  I knew which way to steer, so pushed straight on in the
hope of seeing some sign of a house.  After riding about an hour, I saw
two horsemen going up a hill opposite to me, about half a mile distant;
they were going on slowly, but I could not make them out well, as they
were over the ridge so soon.  I galloped on after them, thinking that
they must be some one from my friends, sent out in search of me, but
upon getting on the hill, the horsemen had passed over.  I saw them a
few hundred yards in advance, they were looking away from me, and one
was pointing out something to the other.  Before I could see well who
they were, my Kaffir came to my side, and exclaimed, _Ma me, ma me!--
bululu bulala!--chingana Bushman_.  ("Ma me," is a term of surprise,
"shoot, shoot, rascally Bushman!").  To explain this apparently cruel
proposition, I must state that the Bushmen about here were looked upon
with the most deadly hatred, "every man's hand was against them, and
theirs against every man."  They were the farmer's greatest enemies--
wandering from place to place; they had strongholds in the most
inaccessible mountains--active as baboons they retreated to these when
no other place was secure.  For days and nights they would watch from
some secret lookout, the cattle or horses of a Boer or Kaffir.  Then
having made themselves acquainted with the customs and precautions of
their purposed victims, they at length crept down to the kraal
containing the cattle or horses, took them quietly out early in the
night, and made a rapid retreat before the morning light would enable
the robbed to discover their loss; the Bushmen then being some thirty
miles distant.  Pursuit is often impossible, because every horse is
generally taken.  Should they be pursued, and see no chance of keeping
the cattle, they will then either hamstring them or stick a poisoned
arrow into them, and thus prevent the farmer from taking advantage of
his speedy pursuit.  The Bushman himself being very light, and always
having a good horse, easily gets away.  If by chance his horse is shot,
and he reduced to his own legs, he scrambles like a baboon up the rocks
if any are near; if not, he seeks cover behind an ant-hill, or in a
wolf-hole, and prepares his poisoned arrows for defence.  Armed with a
quiver full, with five on each side of his head for immediate use, he
cannot be approached with impunity, for at eighty yards the Bushman can
strike a buck while running.  Should a man be wounded, then--

  "Where it draws blood, no cataplasm so rare,
  Collected from all simples that have virtue
  Under the moon, can save the thing from death."

These ten arrows can be delivered in about twice as many seconds; one
would assume the appearance therefore of a fretful porcupine, should he
venture near these venomous wretches.  Forbearance is by the savage,
frequently mistaken for fear, and dog-like he then seeks to worry.  Lest
such should be the case with these men, I sent a bullet a few yards over
their heads, and its music was the first intimation they had that their
council of two was interrupted.  They stayed not to complain, but lying
flat on their horses' necks, which thus appeared riderless, dashed away
into the blue distance.  My Kaffir seemed disappointed at the result; he
kept quiet for some time, and then remarked, "If they had been buck, you
would have hit them,"--it was half an inquiry and half a reproof.  He
would neither have understood or appreciated any moral reasoning I could
have given him against taking the life of a fellow creature, however low
in scale of humanity.

The reflection of the moon on some windows directed me to the residence
of my friend, where a blazing fire, a change of clothes, a plentiful
dinner, and a glass of good brandy and water caused a total revolution
in my feelings, and I began to think that happiness was not excluded
from the simple wattle-and-daub hut of the solitary resident of South
Africa.

This settler had been a frequent sufferer from the depredations of
Bushmen, and they had only lately robbed him of horses and cattle.  He
now kept a dozen dogs always about his premises; these creatures saluted
any arrival with noise enough to wake the dead.  He hinted that, having
found the arm of the law not quite quick or powerful enough to prevent
these robberies, he had taken the liberty of protecting himself, and
following up the thieves rather quickly.  On one occasion he _stopped_
four of them from ever repeating their wickedness; how he did this so
effectually, I could but guess.  He showed me their bows and arrows, and
I was supposed to infer that he had, by the power of argument, persuaded
them to give up vice, and lead a peaceable life.  My friend told me that
elands were sometimes in sight of his house, as well as hartebeest, and
occasionally quaggas; that all the kloofs contained bucks, pheasants,
and guinea-fowl.  There was another visitor at the house, a Dutchman, a
relation of my host's wife, with whom I now became a great ally, he
being a thorough sportsman, and having slain every four-footed animal in
Africa.  I had frequently heard his name mentioned as a most daring
elephant-hunter, and was delighted in hearing his accounts given in the
plain matter-of-fact way that brought conviction at once.  He
acknowledged that he had but little love for Englishmen, and still less
for the English soldier; he gave a very plain reason for his antipathy.
He was used with what he considered great injustice by the government on
the frontier of the colony; appeal after appeal remaining unnoticed.  At
last, angry and disgusted, he sold his lands at a great loss, and
started with his wife, children, goods, and cattle to join the emigrant
farmers, who were then settling themselves in the Natal district, at
that time unoccupied by white men.  There he thought with the rest that
the laws and regulations of the English would not annoy them, and that
after conquering, with a great sacrifice of life and hard fighting, the
treacherous Zulu chief, Dingaan, they would be allowed to enjoy the
fruits of their victories.  Not so, however; a party of English soldiers
shortly came up to Natal, and the officer laid down laws for them all.
_This_ was more than the Dutch could stand.  They considered themselves
as an independent colony, and owned no allegiance to Her Majesty.  A
fight was the consequence, in which the Boers besieged the English
troops, and were nearly driving them to surrender, when reinforcements
were landed and the Dutch defeated.  Most of them "trekked" into the
interior after this, to avoid the English dominion, and amongst them was
the visitor here.  He gave me a description of the night attack made by
our troops on the Boers' camp at the Congella, and its disastrous
result, in which about sixteen of our men were killed and thirty
wounded.  He stated that, whatever idea our English commander had had,
he never could have surprised the Dutch, as _they_ had Kaffir and
Hottentot spies, who were on the look-out all day and all night; and
before the last ox was inspanned at the guns, the Boers had received
information that the troops were coming to attack them, and had made
their preparations accordingly.  The hardships that the troops endured
in the camp, rather than surrender, afford one of the numerous examples
on record of the wonderful gameness and heroism of the English soldier.
Having met with a severe check in the attempted surprise of the Boers'
camp, a little handful of men stood a siege for upwards of a month,
although they were short of provisions, and had but little hope of being
relieved.  Had this affair taken place in Europe, each actor in the
scene would have been immortalised for his endurance and gallantry.  An
extract from the despatch of the commander will give some idea of the
hardships they underwent:--"Upon inquiring into the state of provisions
this day, I found that only three days' issue of meat remained.  I
therefore directed that such horses as were living might be killed, and
made into biltong.  We had hitherto been issuing biscuit dust,
alternating with biscuit and rice, at half allowance.  The horseflesh,
of which there was but little, we commenced using on the 22nd, and, by a
rigid exactness in the issues, I calculated that we might certainly hold
out, although without meat, for nearly a month longer."  The party were
at length rescued by a detachment landed from the _Southampton_ frigate,
who drove the Boers back and eventually made terms with them.  The Boer
gave me the whole account in detail, but it might only weary the reader
were I to write it.  He praised the courage of the English, but said
that they were not slim (cunning) enough for the Kaffirs and Boers.

The Boers have generally a question to ask, or a story to relate.  They
gave me one or two very interesting accounts of the interior, and I was
at last asked to tell an adventure of some kind.  I did not think that I
was likely to amuse my hearers much; for if I related some of my African
adventures and experiences they would have thought them as ridiculous as
I did the following.  When returning from a rough voyage of
seventy-eight days from the Cape, a custom-house searcher came on board
our ship at Gravesend, and tried to awe us with the dangers that he
there met during a strong easterly wind.  "Ah!" said he, "when it blows
hard, the sea gets rather lumpy here, I can tell you!"  He was a
cockney, and this had been the limit of his travels.

I had, however, wonderful things to tell, and was obliged to be cautious
how I related them, lest my veracity should be called in question: all
my precautions were, however, useless.  A young Boer, totally
illiterate, and more ignorant than the generality of these people, was,
in his own opinion, a very clever, sharp sort of fellow, who could not
easily be imposed upon.

My story was not about herds of antelopes consisting of thousands, of
attacks made on troops of elephants or buffaloes, or of lions carrying
off horses from under the very eyes of their owners.  I simply wished to
tell the Boers what sort of a place London was, which I mentioned as
about half its real size, that I might not astonish too much.  I gave
them a description of the large shops, and at last tried to describe
Saint Paul's Cathedral.  I told them that it was so large that at least
four thousand people could stand at the same time inside the building;
and that it was so high that if your own brother happened to be at the
top, and you at the bottom, you would not be able to recognise him.  I
was at once told by the young Dutchman that this could not be true; my
host, however, came to the rescue, and said that he himself had seen the
building, and it was, in reality, even larger than I had stated.  The
Dutchman would not have it so, at any price, but asked, with a knowing
look, "if the wind ever blew in my country," or "if it ever rained."  I
told him it did both, the latter pretty often.  "Then," said he, "that
big place that you have spoken to me about cannot exist; it could not be
built so strong as to stand more than a week; it would be blown down or
washed away.  You see that the Deutch mensch (Dutchmen) cannot be
humbugged so easily as you thought."  Perfectly satisfied at his
flattering discovery, he walked out of the room and took his place for
the night in his waggon, and I have no doubt communicated to his
admiring Hottentot driver how he had shown the Englishman that he was a
clever fellow.

I have generally found that the most reasonable men are the purely
uncultivated and the most highly educated; the intermediate states
appear to carry out the saying, that "a little knowledge is a dangerous
thing."  A very short time ago I met a gentleman who erred much in the
same manner as the Boer.  I happened to mention the daring and
perseverance of a celebrated African hunter, and that his sporting
accounts were very interesting, when the gentleman to whom I refer told
me that he had no patience with this hunter.  His words were to the
following effect: "I am no sportsman, as I never fired off a gun in my
life, and therefore I cannot judge of his shooting.  But I have read his
book, and that story about pulling out the rock-snake carried such an
air of untruth about the whole thing that I never wish to hear more
about him."  I asked why a man should not catch hold of a rock-snake if
he liked, and in what was the air of untruth.  "Why," he sapiently
remarked, "it would have stung him to death at once."  I immediately
withdrew from the argument, but could not help thinking that this
gentleman ought never again to be able to look a rock-snake, or any
other of the boa species, in the face.  The boa has many faults, but to
accuse him of possessing poison, which I presume the gentleman meant
when he said "sting," is really too bad.  Had this snake's ghost known
of the accusation that was brought against his whole species, and
possessed one-half the wisdom that is attributed to the serpent, he
would have risen, and hissed an angry hiss against so barefaced a libel.
A man who enacts the part of a critic ought at least to know something
of the subject on which he was speaking, and in this case should
certainly have been aware that snakes are not rigged with a sting in
their tails, like wasps, that none of the rock-snakes or
boa-constrictors are poisonous, and that, as a rule, few snakes over
eight or ten feet in length have the venom fangs.  The want of knowledge
neither prevented the Dutchman in Africa from disbelieving the existence
of a building like Saint Paul's, nor the Englishman in England from
casting disbelief on the mode of killing a snake in Africa.

One evening I had strolled to a kloof about three miles from my friend's
house, to make a sketch and shoot a guinea-fowl.  I walked quietly up
the kloof, and sat down amongst some thick underwood, where I could just
get a peep at the mountains which I wanted to draw.  I selected a good
concealed situation, as my bush habits had become so much like nature
that I should have considered it throwing away a chance of a shot at
something if I had sat out in the open.  I had succeeded in putting down
the view on paper, and was finishing its details, when I heard a little
tap on a tree near me; I looked up, and on the stem, some fifteen feet
high, I saw the arrow of a Bushman, still quivering in the bark.  I drew
back quietly, and cocked my gun by the "artful dodge;" not doubting that
these rascals had seen me enter the ravine, and were now trying to pink
me with their arrows.  I waited anxiously for some minutes, and then saw
a Bushman come over the rise, and look about.  I knew at once that he
must be unconscious of my presence or he would never have thus shown in
the open; he turned round, and seemed to be taking the line which his
arrow had travelled.  As he did so, I saw a rock rabbit (the _hyrax_)
hanging behind him, and then knew that he was after these animals, and
probably in shooting at one had sent his arrow into the tree near me.

I did not move, as my shelter was so good that even a Bushman's eye
would with difficulty see me.  He looked about him, and seeing his arrow
in the tree, he picked up some stones, threw two or three at it and
brought it down; he then walked quietly away over the ridge.

I slipped down the kloof and made the best of my way home, to give my
host a caution about his cattle and my horses; as these determined
robbers were most dangerous neighbours.

We were not however disturbed.  At about nine o'clock in the evening we
could see a fire shining from a neighbouring mountain, and we supposed
that the Bushmen were having a feast of grilled hyrax for their supper.
It was proposed that we should go out and attack the party, but there
being no seconder to the proposition, it fell to the ground.  My horses
after four or five days began to look rather low in flesh; so I bid my
host farewell and returned to Pietermaritzburg.  On nearing the Umganie
drift, I found the river swollen into a complete torrent, occasioned by
some heavy showers and storms that had fallen up the country.  The
rivers of Africa are never to be trusted, for a traveller may pass with
dry feet over the bed of a river in the morning, and on returning in the
evening find a roaring torrent across his path.

Feeling indisposed for a swim, I accepted the offer of a shake-down at
the house of a Dutchman, a mile or so from the river.  He was a very
good sort of fellow, but given to grumble.  He was in low spirits when I
first saw him, as all his cattle had disappeared and he was fearful the
Bushmen had carried them off.  Upon discovering his loss he at once sent
in to the magistrate of the Kaffirs at Pietermaritzburg, who sent a
party out in search of the lost herds.  The cattle were soon found, as
they had only strayed some few miles, attracted by sweet grass.  We were
sitting at dinner, zee-koe pork (hippopotamus flesh) and tough pudding
being the bill of fare; when the Dutchman suddenly jumped up, and
exclaimed, "Now I will say the government is good."  I looked round and
saw that this remark was brought forth by his seeing all his cattle
returning under the escort of the police, every head being safe and
sound.  The man who ought to have watched the cattle while they were
grazing had fallen asleep; they walked away, the man awoke, and not
seeing them, at once reported to his master that the Bushmen had carried
them all off.

The river decreasing during the night, I returned to Pietermaritzburg on
the next day.



CHAPTER SEVENTEEN.

AFRICAN MOONLIGHT--POOR CHARLEY--WANT OF PATIENCE--BLUE LIGHT IN THE
BUSH--BUCK KILLED BY A LEOPARD--STRANGE FOLLOWERS--PORCUPINE HUNT--
PRACTICAL JOKE--FOOLHARDY CONDUCT--A MISTAKE--KAFFIR PROPHET--A DARK
PATRIARCH--CONJUGAL AUTHORITY--STRONG-HEADED INDIVIDUAL--HARBOUR
SHARKS--FISH SPEARING--INTOXICATING ROOT--A SUGGESTED EXPERIMENT--
VARIETY OF FISH.

The moonlight nights in South Africa are particularly fine and
brilliant; I have frequently read manuscript writing without difficulty,
even when the moon has not been quite at the full.  Things viewed by its
light seem always to be more peaceable and mysterious than by the
sunlight.  Few, for example, fully appreciate the beauties of the
Madeleine in Paris, who have not quietly watched its changing effect
during the passage of the lesser light in her bo-peep proceedings with
the clouds.

In the bush and plains the animals choose the cool night for feeding,
travelling, and drinking.  Many an uncouth-looking creature, whose
ungainly form is rarely shown to the sun, boldly walks the night without
the slightest compunctions for the feelings of the modest moon.  Holes,
ravines, and hollow trees then give up their inhabitants; and many an
animal, who during the day dares not even breathe the atmosphere that
man has passed through, gains courage and boldness in the moon's light,
and cunningly plots and ably executes an attack on cattle, dogs, or
fowls, under, the very roof of its day-dreaded adversary.  A house
situated about four miles from the the Natal flat, and nearly surrounded
with wood, was frequently visited by wild beasts; and on one occasion
the young ladies, while "doing their back hair" and arranging their
nightcaps, happened to cast their eyes above the looking-glass, and
there met the impertinent gaze of a large bull-elephant, who was quietly
rubbing himself against an orange-tree on the lawn, and pitching the
fruit down his capacious throat as boys swallow cherries.  My old dog
once nearly had his days, or rather nights, terminated by the bold
attack of a leopard.  My dog for a change, and I also suspect from the
irresistible attractions of a fascinating little spaniel named Charley,
frequently staid two or three days at a time on a visit at this house;
and while taking his repose, about nine o'clock one night, in a back
room with his inamorata close beside him, a large leopard came with a
spring into the centre of the apartment.  A faint shriek from the little
dog caused two of the young ladies to enter this room, the whole family
being at the time in the front drawing-room.  On their approach, the
leopard with one bound cleared the window, carrying the dog Charley in
his mouth.  All entreaties and tears from the young ladies failed in
producing the least effect on the feelings of this monster, who never
came back; and Charley's tail, and a bit of a foot were all that ever
came to light as to the fate of this ill-starred dog.

The elephants, who buried themselves in the most gloomy places during
the heat of the sun, stalked about boldly, and took their pleasure
during the moonlight.  Night after night I rode round the skirts of the
bush, moving from one of their fashionable watering places to another,
and hanging about the well-worn walks with a praiseworthy perseverance.
They were always too cunning for me, and either smelt my approach and
dashed away before I could get a shot, or remained inside the cover and
grumbled their displeasure, or trumpeted forth a challenge from a
stronghold situated a couple of hundred yards within the forest.
Finding that they were too wide awake to give a chance by this plan of
pursuit, I selected a fine large tree, and taking my desponding friend
as a volunteer, we perched ourselves amongst its branches, at about ten
o'clock at night.  Scarcely had half an hour of silence passed, than my
partner voted it a nuisance not being able to smoke; shortly after he
complained a little of cramp; and in about an hour voted the whole thing
a wild-goose sort of chase, and came to the conclusion that we might as
well go home.  Seeing great difficulty in maintaining the perfect
silence that was so necessary to success, I agreed with him, and we
descended the tree.

The walk through the strip of bush, that was dark as Erebus, was
anything but pleasant, from the briars and branches scratching face and
hands, to say nothing of the chance of finding oneself suddenly lifted
up by the trunk of some artful elephant, who might playfully put his
foot upon the small of your back by way of caution.  We reached our
respective homes without an adventure, and on the following day I was
pleased to find that the elephants had not been near our tree during the
whole night, although the spoor showed that they came in great numbers
exactly under it on the morning.

I always found that a Kaffir was the most patient and easily satisfied
of my hunting companions.  A few evenings, therefore, after my failure
with my restless friend, I took Inyovu, and supplying him with a whole
box full of the strongest snuff and a thick blanket, took my position
once more in the spreading branches of the old tree.  I made every
preparation for standing a siege, in case the elephants attacked the
tree, as was told me would most probably occur, but which I did not for
one moment believe.  To be well prepared in case of such a contingency,
I had filled a small tin saucepan with blue light composition, and
having sprinkled over it the tops of a box of lucifer-matches to obtain
quick ignition, I fixed it firmly in the branches close and handy.  I
purposed pouring some of this when lighted on the back of any
weak-minded elephant who might presume to attempt to haul me down.
Unfortunately, all the illumination was wasted on the desert air, for no
elephants came to me, although I kept awake and watchful all night.  My
Kaffir thought me mad, a very common conclusion if one does not do every
thing in the old way.  Still, although my night was elephantless, I did
not consider it as wasted, as the quietness around, only broken by the
whispering of the leaves as they affectionately felt each other, and the
occasional tiny cries of the ichneumons and other vermin, or the blowing
of a buck and rustle of a herd of wild swine, were all music to an ear
more easily pleased with the wild side of nature than the crash of
omnibus wheels, or the murmur of crowded rooms.

The monotony of this night was broken by one of those events that must,
and do, frequently take place everywhere, and in many cases without the
natural excuse that could be pleaded here, "it was the weak oppressed
and crushed by the strong."

A red bush-buck had gone out into an open glade, and was quietly taking
its dew-refreshed grass supper.  I had noticed for some time the
innocent way in which it had continued grazing, quite unconscious that a
deadly enemy was near, who only refrained from slaying it in the hope
that larger game would, by patience, be soon substituted.  Suddenly a
black looking sort of shadow with a bound was upon it--a shriek, an
instant struggle, and all was quiet.  My Kaffir whispered to me that he
thought we should fire, as leopards' skins were valuable for making
tails (the Kaffirs' waist-dress is thus called by the colonists).  This
whisper was not sufficient to cause alarm, but while moving a little to
cock his gun, the Kaffir shook a branch, and the representative of the
feline race, taking up his capture, bounded away.  We inspected the
ground on the following morning and found that there had scarcely been a
struggle.

One is frequently curiously attended in Africa by strange followers, and
I found myself one night with a footman behind me that might have struck
terror into a lady's heart were John Thomas to be thus suddenly
transformed.  Happening to be at the house famous for the leopard's
visit, and going out at about ten o'clock to saddle my horse that I had
tied to a tree in the garden, I found him absent; and upon inquiring at
the Kaffirs' kraal near, they told me that he had broken his halter and
levanted for some time.  This was the second trick of the kind that he
had played me; on the former occasion, a friend, whose horse had behaved
better, accompanied me, and we shared the saddle, turn and turn about,
for the four miles that constituted the journey home.  On this evening I
had to trudge it alone, and what was worse, without my gun; for, having
merely gone out to take tea, I had left my usual gun at home.  I
borrowed an assagy from the Kaffirs and trotted off.  The road for great
part of the way was lined with bush.  A river about three feet deep had
to be crossed, and then the flat sands of the Congella, famous for the
battle between the Boers and the English troops.

I went on with caution, listening occasionally, as the elephants were
near the edge of the bush I had passed in the afternoon, their feeding
being clearly heard from the smashing of the large branches.  It was not
advisable to rub shoulders with these gentlemen unarmed, and in the
night, if it could be avoided.

I had passed the little river Umbilo about two hundred yards, when, upon
suddenly stopping to listen, I heard something behind me; so dropping to
the ground, I placed my head low, and made out the shambling figure of a
cowardly hyaena in relief against the sky.  I flung a stone at him and
he shuffled away.  Soon after I heard him behind me again, and he
followed at a respectable distance until I reached the village of
D'Urban.  These brutes, although possessing a strength of jaw capable of
grinding an ox's leg-bone to powder, are still such curs as to fly
before a dog; and on one occasion, near Pietermaritzburg, four of them
were chased for a couple of miles by my old dog, and made such good use
of their legs that I could not get near enough for a shot.

During two or three evenings we had great fun near the town of
Pietermaritzburg in blocking out porcupines.  I nearly ran over one on
horseback one day, and narrowly escaped getting his quills in my horse's
legs.  They spread their quills wide, and run backwards very fast, thus
presenting a _chevaux-de-frise_ anything but agreeable.  This one dodged
about round me, now running through the grass quite fast, then stopping
and backing, so that I could with difficulty keep my usually
well-behaved shooting-pony from actually turning tail, and in
consequence fired both bullets without any satisfactory result.  In a
few minutes he came to his hole, a place big enough for a man to live in
near the entrance, that had evidently formerly been occupied by some
able excavator, probably an ant-bear.  I could not get at the "fretful"
in this retreat, but on arriving at home consulted with my Kaffirs, who
agreed that we would get some dogs, and go out soon after the moon rose.
We did so, armed with knob-kerries and assagies; and placing two
sentries over the hole, we sent the dogs on the traces, having
discovered that he was out for the night.  We soon heard the yelping of
the curs, and ran to the spot.  The porcupine was coming along in a
great fuss with the dogs all round him; assagies and sticks were hurled
at him, while he dodged amongst the Kaffirs' naked legs, who jumped
about with wonderful activity.  A blow on the nose at last finished him.

At this place two gentleman attempted to play on me a very silly trick,
that might have led to very serious consequences, had it not been for
the greatest caution on the part of myself and another individual.

A party of five had been dining together, when, at about 10 p.m., a
commissariat officer and I, who were two of the five, left the others,
and mounted our horses for the purpose of riding round the edge of the
Berea, on the chance of finding an elephant outside it, as I had heard
several feeding in the bush as I returned from shooting in the afternoon
of this day.

We were much ridiculed by two gentlemen of the party on announcing our
intended proceedings, for they seemed to think no elephants were near,
and that we were a couple of blockheads for troubling ourselves to go
out.  Not regarding these remarks, we started, and having been careful
to select saddles that did not creak and curb-chains that did not
jingle, we advanced with tolerable silence to the part of the forest
from whence emanated the sounds that had shown me in the afternoon the
presence of a troop of elephants.  We halted at about two hundred yards
from the tall trees that fringed this part, and listened for any
indications.  Our patience was not severely tried, as we heard one or
two branches smashed as none but an elephant could have smashed them.
We immediately took up our position a little nearer, and behind some
bushes, so that we might not be seen by any elephants when they came to
drink at the pools of water near.  We waited for nearly half an hour,
plainly hearing the troop feeding at about one hundred yards inside the
bush, and apparently coming towards us.  Our horses stood like rocks,
merely pricking up their ears a little when a louder smash of a branch
than usual was heard.  It was getting rather exciting, as the elephants
were blowing and grumbling very distinctly; and by their moving about a
good deal they seemed meditating a march on to the open flat to drink.
Suddenly they all became silent, and the finest ear could not discover a
sound indicative of a large animal being near.  I whispered to my
companion, and asked what he thought was the cause.  We were not long
uncertain, for close under the bush we saw in the gloom two tall objects
moving, so there was no doubt that the elephants had come out of the
bush, and therefore could now walk silently.  We whispered that we would
fire together, and both barrels as quickly as possible one after the
other.  The two objects were little more than eighty yards from us, when
we quietly cocked our guns, and were going to deliver our fire.

As I was straining my eyes to catch a glimpse of the glittering ivories,
and thereby to judge the position of the elephant's shoulder, I fancied
that the step did not appear like an elephant's.  The moon was not yet
up, consequently we could see but indistinctly.  Somehow the thought
came across me that perhaps other sportsmen had also come out to try for
a shot, and I called immediately to F.  "For God's sake don't fire--it
is a man on horseback."  He said something about "nonsense, it can't
be."  I called again, rather louder, for him not to fire; and as I did
so a roar of laughter came from one of the supposed elephants, find
"Sold, old fellow," was facetiously remarked by the other.  I was very
angry at being thus disturbed, and still more so when I found out the
real state of the case.  It seemed that, after we left the dinner-table,
the first glass of brandy and water (which generally supplies the place
of claret or port in Africa) had caused these two gentlemen to decide
that our night-ride was ridiculous; the second had proved us two
absolute donkeys; the third that we _ought_ to be sold.  I don't know
how many, more or less, it had taken to decide the plan, which was, that
they would mount their horses, and ride out to where we were waiting,
and discover our hiding-place _without our knowing of their approach_,
and then commence imitating noises that were to make us think they were
elephants!  Upon my assuring these gentlemen that a large troop of
elephants was really in the bush close by, they either could not or
would not believe it, and easily satisfied themselves that their opinion
was right; as, after listening a minute or so, and riding round a little
way, they declared they only heard a crack of some sort in the bush, and
had not seen a single elephant, and that the noises we said we had heard
must have been caused by our imagination.

Our opinion had been formed from half an hour's careful listening,
_theirs_ from two minutes noisy looking round.  Is there any
self-sufficiency in this sort of conclusions I wonder?  I may here
relate a ridiculous mistake that I made, and a narrow escape of Kaffir
slaughter, both caused by my eagerness for a fine specimen of the black
bush-buck.

I have before mentioned one or two little open patches on the top of the
Berea.  I was riding over these one afternoon, looking for fresh
elephant spoor, when I saw, about two hundred yards distant, a black
object just visible in the long grass, and there was no doubt in my mind
that it was a black bush-buck.  I dropped off my horse, and stalked with
the greatest care to within about eighty yards of it; I suddenly raised
my head to get a peep, and saw only a black back, and recognised a
little movement in the tail, which was very buck-like.  The object was
partly hidden by bushes and grass; the spot was most retired.

I guessed where the shoulders would be, and sent my bullet at them into
the long grass; the animal fell over backwards, and I rushed to the spot
to discover an old goat, shot directly through the heart.  At the same
time a little Kaffir sprang up close to the corpse, in a great fright.
He informed me that this was the pet ram of an old Kaffir who lived
nearly two miles distant; that the grass having been burnt near his
kraal, he had sent his boy with the pet to graze on this spot, where the
grass was very good.  It cost me three shillings to pacify the old
fellow, and an extra fee to secure his silence, as the story would not
have told well for me.  This accident I believe saved a Kaffir's life
from being sacrificed to a similar mistake; for I again took for a buck
a black object in a most retired part of the forest.  I was about firing
when I remembered the goat mistake, and approached a little closer to
have a better look.  I was prepared in case of the buck bounding off,
when I gave a little whistle to alarm it, and enable me to have a full
view.  The object moved when I whistled, and rising to nearly six feet
in height, showed itself to me as an old Kaffir man.  I was truly
thankful that I had not put a bullet into his head.  Upon chatting with
him, he told me that he was residing two or three days in the bush,
previous to his giving a prophecy on some important affair in his kraal.
He certainly was no true Kaffir, if he could not tell a thumping lie,
after three days getting it up, in the solitude of the bush.

Returning one afternoon from shooting, I saw a party of Kaffirs sitting
round my tent, and upon riding up I was informed by one of my dark
servants that a chief had come in from the Umzriububu district, to
transact some business, and being his particular chief he had asked him
to stay and have a talk with me.  I was much flattered by this mark of
approbation, and at once asked M'untu Umculu into my tent, where we
squatted down and took pinch after pinch of strong snuff, until my
guest's shining hide became indistinct and shadowy through the tears
that forced themselves from the inmost recesses of my eyes.

We said not a word, but the long-drawn sighs that now and then with
bellows-like expression emanated from M'untu, gave earnest of his
unqualified delight and pure uninterrupted enjoyment.

After half an hour of unsneezing silence, I managed to stutter out,
_Chela pela's indaba incosi_ (tell me the news, chief), to which M'untu
politely replied that "the news should come from me."  We had some
pleasant and instructive conversation, during which I discovered that
the six ladies who were sitting round outside were M'untu's wives, the
three men were his servants, and one old fellow, with a very high ring
on his head, was his familiar councillor.  I ordered an ox's head for
their lunch, and expressed a wish that I should see my worthy visitor
during the course of the evening.  About eight o'clock he came to me in
the mud hovel that served as mess-room, and accepted my offer of a seat.
He appeared with his retinue of wives, etc.  It is strange what
different customs exist in different lands.  While the princesses of
Oude allow not even their beautiful eyes to be seen, the princesses of
Kaffirland consider statuesque absence of drapery fashionable.
Civilisation prefers the half-way-between-the-two style which many of
our ball-room belles now practise.  M'untu Umculu appeared wonderfully
at his ease, and offered me his snuff-box with the solemnity of a judge.
He was decidedly an oracle in his own circle, and although apparently
not more than twenty, seemed to have inspired each and every one of his
six wives with an awe and a reverence for his word and look, that might
give an excellent example to many a man who has only one sixth of his
difficulties.

Having on the table a stone bottle of gin, containing about two gallons,
I poured out a tumbler-full and offered it to my visitor; he took a
little sip, another, then a big draught, and then with one gulp, down it
all went.  I watched him attentively, but he never even winked his eye.
I waited for a short time to watch progress, but M'untu's thirsty nature
impelled him to push his tumbler over to me again.  I cautioned the
Kaffir chief that the spirit which he wished to drink was very powerful,
and if he repeated his potation it would probably make him drunk.  He,
however, still begged for a fresh tumbler-full, and finding that he
would take no denial, I complied with his request, as I considered that
a bad headache in the morning would be a good excuse for me to give a
lecture to my tippling guest.  I therefore refilled his glass,--in one
minute it was bottom upwards, the contents having gone down his throat
with a plaintive gurgle--no wink this time either.  For quantity and
time I could have laid odds on M'untu against any sot of Saint Giles's.

I now saw my solemn friend's countenance begin to light up, his tongue's
dignity relaxed, and he commenced talking.  His wealth and his
performances were the theme.  The third tumbler brought out the warmth
of the savage's heart.  Calling each of his wives by name, he made them
drop on all fours and crawl up to him; retaining the tumbler in his own
hands for security, he placed it to their lips, jerked a little up their
noses, and sent them away still crawling and facing him.  Oh! what a
refreshing exhibition of domestic obedience!  Suddenly, with the tone of
an emperor, he ordered one of his servants to bring some sugar-cane and
honey, both of which he by a wave of his arm indicated were for me and
my heirs for ever.  A fourth tumbler caused a continuous and indistinct
utterance of unconnected sentences in a loud voice, whilst a graceful
and unceasing rolling motion pervaded his body.  His councillor had
tried to stop this jovial proceeding at the third tumbler, but had
received a backhander from M'untu that had certainly checked any further
interference; the rolling of his body had increased rapidly during the
fourth tumbler, and it had scarcely been emptied before M'untu Umculu,
chair and tumbler, came with a crash to the ground.

The councillor, who had wisely ordered the wives away as soon as he saw
what was going on, now came in, and with the aid of three Kaffirs lifted
M'untu up and bore him away, not without considerable opposition,
however, as he still held out his broken glass; and its splintered
remains were the last thing that disappeared from the door, entreatingly
held towards me at arm's length.  I soon after sent for the councillor
and requested him to remind M'untu Umculu in the morning of the
ridiculous exhibition he had made, and to state, that, although my
hospitality obliged me to give him what he had requested, I still did
not think so highly of him as I had done previously, and warned him
against all strong drinks as his greatest enemies.  On the following
morning, just as the sun was rising, I heard some talking outside my
tent, and upon opening the canvass door, saw my drunken guest of last
night, sitting down coolly outside.  Immediately he saw me he held out
his hand and thanked me in a most gentlemanly manner for my kind
entertainment of the night before.  I asked him if his head ached, but
he complained of nothing, and certainly appeared quite right, with the
exception of a slight redness about the eyes.  What would some of my
readers give for a cranium of this strength?  Perhaps this child of
nature's head did not yet know how to ache.  I accepted an invitation to
go and hunt in the district that acknowledged M'untu's rule, and with
the "united kind regards" of the suite they trudged off; M'untu in the
most delicate way having left a gourd snuff-box with my Kaffir, to be
presented to me when he was out of sight.  I heard that game was
plentiful near the kraal of this Kaffir, and shortly after, while the
friendship was warm, went down the coast to see him.  We had very fair
sport with buck and buffalo.

The shooting amusement at Natal could be changed sometimes, as the
fishing in the bay was excellent.  With a boat anchored in the channel a
large number of fish of different kinds were often caught--rock-cod in
great numbers especially, and a fish there called a kiel-back, very like
a cod in appearance, and weighing generally twenty-five or thirty
pounds.  Sharks are frequently seen in the bay, and on the bar at the
entrance they swarm, presenting anything but an agreeable prospect, in
case of an upset in the surf-boat.  I have heard that on the outside of
the harbour they have frequently taken men down, while inside they are
considered harmless.  Why they should thus change their dispositions in
so short a distance it is difficult to say, but that they do not make a
habit of attacking bathers in the bay I am certain, as I was in the
water morning and evening, and frequently swam out a considerable
distance from the shore--thus offering a good bite to a shark.  I
believe the reason to be, that inside the bay there are enormous shoals
of small fish, so that a shark could feast for months on them and
scarcely show that he had diminished their numbers.  He does not,
therefore, suffer from an unsatisfied appetite so much as his
unfortunate brethren, who may not have such comfortable snug quarters,
or be able to find their way to them when pressed by hunger.

I never tried a fly in the bay, but am convinced it would be taken very
well.  There is a fish called a "springer" that makes tremendous leaps
out of the water after insects, and would give capital sport.  These
fish are very cunning and not to be caught like common fish with a
simple hook and line; they will come up and look at the bait, swim round
it in all directions, but will not even nibble.  If you throw a piece of
the same substance as your bait overboard, twenty of them make a rush at
once to seize it, then have a sniff at your hooked bit, give a kind of
chaffing whisk of their tails, and then sail away.  These fellows made
me very angry; I tried the thinnest lines, but it was no go, the water
being so clear; but at last I devised a plan for circumventing them.
Having by great practice acquired the art of throwing the assagy, I
procured one that had a small barbed end, that the Kaffirs used for
fish.  I put a piece of lead round the part where the iron joined the
wood, and made a piece of string fast to the spear, harpoon fashion.
Getting the boat into that part of the bay frequented by these artful
fish, I made all ready for a lunge, and told the Kaffir to throw out
some little chopped pieces of meat.  A dozen springers rose after them
at once, close to the boat, and not more than a few feet under water.
Allowing for the refraction of the water, the spear was thrown down with
great force; it disappeared, but soon came up again near the top of the
water, the end violently agitated.  A gentle, but steady haul on the
line, brought a struggling springer to the boatside, where my Kaffir,
slipping his hand in his gills, landed him.

I rarely succeeded in getting more than one at a time by this plan, for
the alarm soon spread, and I had then to wait for a day or two for them
to forget what had happened, or go to some other part of the bay where
they were not up to the dodge.

A root grew on the Natal flat with which I frequently captured fish; it
had the effect of fuddling them, and made them jump out of the water, if
used in a confined space.  It was something like ground-ivy in growth,
the long fibres stretching for several feet round; the leaves were small
and shaped like clover.  The root was discovered by taking hold of one
of these creepers and pulling it up until it led to the root, which was
then dug up.  The root was about a foot long, and half an inch in
diameter.  When a dozen or so had been collected, they were bruised and
fastened on to a long bamboo.  The large pools of water left by the high
tides on the bluff amongst the rocks, were the scenes of operations,
into these the root was inserted, and then stirred round for some time.
In less than a minute small and large fish would dart out from the holes
in the rocks, and swim about the pool as though greatly perplexed, and
would very soon after turn on their backs and float, when they could be
taken with the hand.  Sometimes with a duck and drake sort of
progression they skipped along over the top of the pool and sought the
dry land.  If they were placed in water that was uncontaminated by this
root, they would recover in a few minutes, and might be eaten without
the slightest danger.  This root was called by the Kaffirs "_Il, o
zarni_."  I do not know if botanists are acquainted with it in any way.

The Kaffirs here made large enclosures of bamboo or stakes, driven so
close together that no fish could escape, but the water could make its
way through.  The tops of these dams were covered about two feet deep at
high water; and as the rise and fall of the tide were here about four
feet, the stakes here were above the water when it went down.  Mullet,
and many other fish that kept near the surface, amused themselves in
these enclosures until too late to escape, when they fell easy victims
to the assagies of the Kaffir, who paid his traps daily visits at low
water.  I think a man might make a capital living by starting at Natal
as a fisherman on a large scale, and sending his fish during the cool
nights by pack-horses to Pietermaritzburg, where it is almost an unknown
luxury.  The Kaffirs take some fine fish by spearing.  When the tide is
half out, there is a long level sand on the left of the bay, with about
three feet of water on it.  The Kaffirs form themselves into a half-moon
shaped line, each with two or three barbed assagies; they keep about ten
yards apart and walk slowly along.  Should a fish of any size be seen a
signal is given, and the outsiders rush round so as to enclose the
victim, the others showering their spears at him.  He seldom escapes
them, as these fellows make capital shots at forty yards.  I often
bought a heavy cargo of fish from these fishermen, as much as I could
carry, for sixpence, or, what they much prefer, a couple of sticks of
tobacco.

There is a great excitement in the sea-fishing, a title that may be
given to the sport in this bay, for one never knows what is coming up
when there is a bite--fish of the most ridiculous shapes, and beautiful
colours, and all sizes,--now a small rock-cod, then a large parrot-fish;
again a tremendous tug at your thick line, and away it flies, with no
chance of holding or staying it--some monster has carried off
everything.  A gallant friend of mine, who was not very careful in the
arrangement of his tackle, was near meeting with an accident here.  A
bite and tug, such as I have mentioned, pulled the line out of his hand,
and it flew over the side at the rate of twenty miles an hour.  I saw
that he had a coil of the line round his body, and had just time, by
snatching up a knife, to cut the line, when the whole piece was carried
overboard.  It must have been a ground-shark or some such monster.  My
friend would in another instant have been dragged overboard or cut in
two, as the line was nearly as thick as my finger, therefore too strong
to break before it would have seriously damaged him.

Shoals of porpoises frequently played about in the surf, close to the
shore, and good bullet practice might be had at them.



CHAPTER EIGHTEEN.

STEEPLE-CHASE AT D'URBAN--THE LAST DAY'S SPORT--THE BAR AT NATAL--REACH
TABLE BAY--IMPERTINENT "PIKE"-KEEPER--CHASED BY A POLICEMAN--DISHONEST
AUCTIONEER--SAINT HELENA--TURTLE-CATCHING--WATERSPOUTS--CINTRA--LISBON--
BEST WEAPONS FOR THE BUSH--EXTRA GUN-STOCKS NECESSARY--RECOMMENDATION TO
"USED-UP" INDIVIDUALS.

A short time before I left D'Urban we had some races on the flat.  The
horses were not quite equal to those seen at Newmarket; but still, where
time is not much noted by the watch, a good race is a good race,
although the mile may take more than two minutes in running.

The first race of the day was a mile, over four flights of hurdles,
catch weight, any riders.  Any riders they were too--as, at the first
hurdle, only two out of six got over safely; two jockeys were sent clean
out of their saddles, one horse came down on his head, and another
refused.  Before coming to the second flight, one of the two fortunate
horses swerved and missed his fence, but his jock, still keeping on,
took the remaining two, and won easily; the race was, however, given
against him on account of the slip.  All other horses being distanced,
the one horse that had fairly gone the course, should, after a walk
over, have taken the stakes; but a very powerful-looking jock on a
distanced horse, insinuating that he would break any one's head who said
he was distanced, seemed to have some influence on the judge, who
decided that this man's horse was to be allowed to start in the second
heat.

The second heat was therefore merely a match, and the strong-armed man
won; he shied his hat in the air and sent his horse home without walking
over for the third heat.  The owner of the other horse then claimed the
stakes, and a regular row seemed the most likely result.  I left the
course before matters were decided, so do not know what decision this
jockey club came to on the knotty question.  I should here mention that
all the disputing parties, as well as the riders, were English.

I must say that I left the district of Natal with regret, or rather I
should say, its sports, climate, and free life.  My last day's sport was
good, for three bucks were shot, two of them being of the little blue
buck species that I have before mentioned.  I rode round my old haunts
to bid them farewell, and also to look the last on several of my black
sporting companions.  The Kaffirs were all sorry to hear of my purposed
departure, and wished to know where I was going and when I would return.
Many of them were much puzzled when they tried to think how people
found the road on the sea.  They would say, "there were no trails or
trees to mark the journey, and the waves were always altering their
shapes."  It was difficult to explain to these unmathematical minds the
mysteries of "sights," latitude and longitude, or the use of logarithms.
I managed to make them comprehend that by the stars and sun we
understood our position; they could not quite make out the system, and
seemed to think that there must be _Takata_ (witchcraft) about it.

I wondered, as I left these poor black heathens, whether I should ever
again meet in civilised hands as much honesty, truth, and disinterested
friendship amongst the uncultivated and ignorant; or whether I should
again live for two years amongst a nation, who, although nearly ignorant
of Christianity, and the direction towards the right that is given by a
knowledge of its simple beauties, still possessed many of those good
qualities that are rarely met in the most vaunted Christian countries.
I embarked at Natal Bay in a little brigantine; an esteemed brother
sportsman being also a passenger.  A sulky impudent Dutchman, with his
wife and a child, were also sharers of the tiny cabin.

The bar at Natal is not disposed to be always favourable for ingress and
egress.  Sometimes nine and ten feet of water were found on it, and the
next day but seven.  So it happened when we were leaving; for on the day
before our attempted departure, we were told there were quite nine feet,
but on our getting near it we struck.  Fortunately there was but a
little swell on, but still the ship bumped very heavily, and seemed to
bend under us like a wickerwork basket.  The Dutchman, who was on deck;
looked very white; he dived down below, and soon returned buttoning up
his pockets.  He looked at us and the skipper, then at the shore,
distant about 200 yards, with an intermediate glance of horror at two or
three large dorsal fins that were sticking up out of the water,
indicative of ten feet long sharks which would not have objected to our
attempting a swim.  By the aid of the port-boat sent out ahead we
managed to get pulled off the bar, and got through another passage, only
just then known or practised, which ran for some distance along the
coast, and turned out into the ocean beyond.

We soon had a south-east breeze, set our studding-sails, and in seven
days dropped our anchor in Table Bay; having completed the voyage in
less than one-third of the time that it had taken me to do half the
distance on the occasion of my upward journey.

My first experiences of what is called civilisation were anything but
agreeable.  During my stay at Cape Town, while waiting the arrival of a
ship to convey me to England, I frequently rode out in the country about
Winberg and Rondebosh, and had to pass a turnpike on the road, kept by a
good-natured old man who responded to the name of Peter.  We used to
give this old fellow a shilling or two, and let him keep the account of
the number of times we rode through.  He never lost by this arrangement,
as I frequently gave him half-a-crown, which would have allowed me to
pass nearly twenty times.  It so happened, either from thoughtlessness
or from having been spoilt by the wilds of Natal, where a stick of
tobacco is wealth enough for a long journey, that I rode out one day
without any money in my pocket.  I discovered its absence when about a
couple of miles from home; but knowing that I had a good balance to my
credit at the turnpike, I did not trouble myself to return.  Cantering
on, I passed the gate without a thought, calling out as I went through,
"All right, Peter!" and stooping down to show him who I was.  I did not
see Peter inside, but observed a stranger man come out as I was passing.
I paid several _p.p.c._ visits in the country, and returned towards
Cape Town.  Upon approaching the pike, I saw two men, as though watching
me, standing each side of the gate.  I, however, rode on, quite
unconscious of the storm hanging over my head.  Since my last ride
through this pike, Peter had been turned out of his place, and a
bankrupt butcher installed in office; of this change, however, I was
ignorant at the time.  As I was passing through the gate, one of the men
rushed at me, caught the bridle of my horse, and said, "Come, pay the
fare; you ain't going to bilk me a second time!"  I asked what he meant,
telling him that the pikeman owed me at least a shilling.  To this he
responded, "You're a blackguard cheat, and I'll pull you off your
horse."  Suiting the action to the word, he caught hold of my leg and
tried to unseat me.  I have ever given myself great credit for not
having dropped my heavy handled whip on this rascal's head at the time.
The man who was standing by said, "No don't strike the gentleman."
During the scene, a person, whom I had met but a day or two before at a
private house, and who happened to be a man in authority over the
police, came out from a building at the back of the turnpike.  I told
him the case, and that unfortunately I had no money to pay the penny, or
twopence, turnpike.  With the pomposity of office he pretended not to
recognise me, but merely asserted as an axiom, that no one was allowed
to ride through turnpikes without paying the fare.  The man who had hold
of my bridle seemed to consider the sentence as a verdict in his favour,
and told me to "pay up without any more humbug."  The horse that I was
riding happened to be a thoroughbred three year old, lent me by a
friend, who had requested me to ride him on the snaffle as he possessed
a very tender mouth--a great rarity in Cape horses.  I was trying to
explain that I would leave my name or my whip, or anything as a pledge
for the penny, when the man loudly and angrily repeated his demand for
the money, at the same time chucking the horse's mouth with the sharp
curb.  To this the noble animal strongly objected, and turning round
reared straight up.  Now had this been my own horse I doubt if I could
have borne it quietly, but as it was the property of a friend, such a
proceeding was unbearable.  The ex-butcher was about repeating his jerk,
in the hopes, I have no doubt, of unseating me, when I struck him a blow
on the wrist with the loaded end of my whip, that caused him at once to
let go of the bridle.  I gave the young one a squeeze, who, finding his
head free, bounded clear of the attempt to stop him made by the second
party.  I was so enraged at the whole proceeding, and at having been
placed in a false position by the absence of my purse, that I went on
for a couple of hundred yards before I recovered my equanimity.  I then
found that I was riding away from home, and the only other road, which
was a long way round, had also a turnpike at which I was not known.
Turning my horse into the open furze ground at the side of the road, I
made a sweep round across country, and was quietly making my way home,
when I saw a policeman on a horse coming after me.  Knowing that any
attempt to argue the merits of the case would have been useless, I was
even obliged to fly.  I gave a shake of the reins, and the thoroughbred
soon strode away from the blue-coated gentleman, and landed me safe in
the castle at Cape Town.  The oracular official, however, knew me
perfectly well, and had it not happened that the good ship came on the
very next day, and carried me out of Table Bay, I have no doubt that I
should have seen my name figuring in the Cape Town paper under the head
of "Police," and that the crime would have been designated as, "Brutal
Assault on a Turnpike-keeper, and disgraceful Attempt at Swindling, by a
British Officer."

My other experience was a loss of money only; but still, when one is
leaving a colony, and laying in a stock of provisions for a voyage, that
commodity becomes singularly useful.  I had two guns that, although in
good order, I thought would be a drug in England, and therefore asked an
auctioneer, to whom I had been introduced, how to turn them into cash.
He said they would fetch a good price on the parade at auction, and he
would sell them for me, recommending that they should go without
reserve.  I was hurried in packing up, etc., before leaving, so gave
directions to my servant to take the two guns to the auctioneer, and
wait for the money.  He asked what price I would take, but, relying upon
the auctioneer's statement, I named no sum as a reserve.  I thought that
if I obtained anything like 15 or 20 pounds sterling, it would do--one
gun originally costing thirty-five guineas, and the other I had bought
from a Dutchman, giving a horse and a five pound note in exchange.  Upon
my servant coming back, I saw that he looked rather queer, and was soon
made acquainted with the cause.  My two guns, after paying the fees,
_realised thirty-six rix dollars, or about two pounds fifteen shillings
of English money_.  There was no help for it now; but what added to my
annoyance was seeing a man carrying my worst gun some hours afterwards,
and upon asking him how he liked it, etc., found that he had given ten
pounds for it to the very auctioneer who had sold (_alias_ bought) it.

There are many men to be found in England who may pride themselves on
knowing a thing or two.  Let them go to South Africa, and they will find
they are perfect babes.  I mean not thus to vilify the whole body of the
worthy Capeites, but merely their _mauvais sujets_.  It is my belief
that a thorough Cape "schelm" would give at least two points in the
rubber of roguery and beat the best English swindler living.  The
performances of many individuals in England during the last two years
have reduced the odds greatly; and, if we progress as satisfactorily, we
may expect shortly to have a very close and interesting match for
excellence in this particular.

On leaving Table Bay we had very fine sailing weather, and bowled down
to Saint Helena in capital style.  We stopped two days at this emperor's
prison, and had an opportunity of seeing Longwood and the country round.
In the island some very pretty green valleys were to be seen, although
the coast near the town of Saint James was high and rocky.  We saw
several sharks in the transparent water near, and shoals of small
mackerel.  It did not give me the idea of a very delightful residence,
at least for any lengthened period, unless one happened to have a vast
amount of resources within oneself.  I thought it was about the last
place I would choose in which to settle; but soon had occasion to change
my mind, as a view and slight inspection of the island of Ascension made
me regard Saint Helena as a perfect paradise in comparison.

Ascension might well be compared to a Brobdignag coal-fire suddenly put
out.  All is black, or reddish-brown; only one spot of green is seen on
the island, and this is distinguished as the Green Mountain.  On walking
inland, large bits of rock, that apparently weigh 100 pounds, may be
kicked along like footballs; they are really but like cinders.  The
curiosities of the island are gannet and wide-awake fairs, so called
from the enormous swarms of these two birds--a species of gull that
there build and reside.  The whole ground is covered with the eggs and
guano of these birds, while they themselves fly around the heads of the
visitor in thousands, uttering threatening cries.  I found the
wide-awakes anything but correctly named, as I knocked over two or three
with my stick, and could have done so to many more had I wished.  The
great thing at Ascension is turtle; swarms are there found, and the
commonest sailor has more than he can eat.  Two large ponds, of about
100 feet square, are crammed with the fish, lying two and three deep;
the turtle are regularly fed and looked after, ships being supplied with
them when required.  There are two or three lookout stations in the
island, where men watch for the turtle to crawl on shore.  Immediately
that one is seen, a party is sent out who turn the unwieldy gentleman on
his back, where he reposes, flapping his finny legs about until a cart
takes him to the prison pond.  We had about a dozen sent on board, and
in a week were surfeited with turtle soup, turtle-steaks, turtle-curry,
and turtles' eggs; a plain bit of salt junk was for a change quite a
treat.  As we passed the line, I witnessed a strange collection of
waterspouts that were gathered on the horizon near sunset; there were
about seven of them nearly close together and moving with different
velocities; they had the appearance of columns supporting the dark
clouds of heaven.  Sometimes they would seem to disperse, and then
again, gathering solidity, stalk about like ocean genii.

Our voyage was unmarked by sport.  We had a strange death occur on board
from chloroform--a man who had a disease of the lungs wishing to have
his damaged finger taken off during the influence of chloroform.  His
wish was complied with, and death resulted.  We were expecting to run
into the channel and make a very rapid voyage, but were unfortunately
met by a strong easterly wind that kept us beating about for a
fortnight.  Having 500 people on board and but a small supply of water,
our position became rather critical; for we were reduced from a quart to
a pint of water per man, and having no wine or beer to drink, were in
doubt what would come next.  Several of the women and children suffered
severely from thirst, whilst the able-bodied men had to look at the salt
provisions with a hungry forbearance, salt beef, tongues, etc., not
being very thirst-quenching articles.  I used to sit for a long time
with my feet in a tub of sea-water, and fancied that I was not so
thirsty in consequence.  We tried to run for any port for succour, but
upon attempting Vigo, were checked by a two days' calm.  A light breeze
at length wafted us into the Tagus, and two hours afterwards we dropped
anchor opposite Lisbon.  I was very shortly up to my neck in a delicious
cold bath of the purest fresh water, in one of the most comfortable
rooms of the Braganza Hotel, when the buxom Mrs Dyson sent to know
whether I would like the champagne iced for dinner.  This was rolling in
riches of luxury, after nearly starving of privation, and dying from
thirst.

We stayed several days at Lisbon, to enable the ship to be set to
rights, and us to get fresh provisions; during the delay I visited
Cintra, but I was not as much impressed with its glories and grandeur as
Byron seems to have been.  This I have no doubt arose from having just
left Africa, where parts of the scenery are very similar (with the
exception that monasteries are there unknown), only on a much larger
scale.  Cintra, therefore, looked to my eyes like a pocket edition or
model of what I had been accustomed to for nearly three years.  I was
much struck with the beauty of many of the churches in Lisbon, and also
interested with the schools at Belem.  It struck me however as cruel,
that in one large room, filled with boys, a window looked out into an
orange-grove where the ripe fruit hung in clusters within six feet of
the glass, against which the boys might flatten their noses in hungry
imagination but could not approach nearer to the tempting mouthful; the
same style of thing may however be frequently seen near a pastrycook's
shop in London.

The opera was amusing--it was "Macbeth," and the Portuguese were not
quite "up" in Highland costume.  I was shown over the arsenal by an
officer who spoke English; it had very little in it.  Feeling, however,
that I ought to offer some compliment on its appearance, I remarked
"that it was very clean."  He said, "Yes; clean of every thing!"

The experimental squadron came into the Tagus while we were there, and
caused great consternation in Lisbon by anchoring opposite Black
Horse-square instead of lower down the river, thus committing some
breach of etiquette or breaking a rule.  I was sorry to leave Lisbon,
for it was a nice place with a very fine climate, which after all is
more than half the battle in this life.  One is obliged to seek
artificial amusements when every other day is wet, where a few hours of
daylight are not regularly supplied, but frequently become mere black,
foggy sort of things that are neither days nor nights.  If we do get a
little fine weather in England we are miserable from knowing that it
will not last long, and any change must be for the worse.  I am no
grumbler, but I do like to see the sun at least 300 days out of the 365.
I am fond of green trees, green fields, and even green men.  I like to
have room to move my elbows without digging them into somebody else's
ribs, and I like to be able to open my mouth and shout and have no
hearers, instead of having an army jump down one's throat if one merely
opens his lips.  It is a great comfort to be in a barbarous land where
you shake hands with every man you meet (not often troubled by the bye),
and can ask this man, blacker white, to do you a favour, and meet
kindness from him, and probably receive an invitation to shoot or dine
with him.  It is better than residing in civilised countries, where your
most intimate friend will only sometimes know you, near corners,
because, perhaps, you don't wear peg-top breeches or Noah's ark coats.
I know I am wrong in thinking so; but it all results from having lived
with savages.

In the sketches I have written, and the different sporting events that I
have recorded, I have endeavoured to give to a novice some information
that may be useful to him when he commences his career of sport in South
Africa.  It has always appeared to me that there was more detail
required by people generally than is found in many of the high sporting
works already written on South Africa.  To fill in this detail has been
my endeavour.

I must impress upon all those who purpose a campaign against the _ferae_
of Africa the necessity there is for using weapons of a large calibre; a
gun with the common sixteen or fourteen-bore is a disheartening weapon
when used against large game.

It is difficult to say what causes instantaneous death--whether the hole
that the bullet makes and the vessels it cuts in its course, or the
shock that is given to the stricken animal by its momentum.  I am
disposed to think it is as much the latter cause as the former, having
so frequently witnessed cases in which an ounce ball striking an animal
has merely served to increase its pace, while a two-ounce bullet
striking in the same part a similar animal would drop it dead.  With
elephants the size of the bullet is even more essential--the small ones
as Gordon Cumming describes it, "merely telling on their constitutions."
It is almost useless to recommend a particular sort of gun, as people
generally choose for themselves after all.  Were I again to visit
Africa, I would take a double-barrelled smooth bore of ten or eight to
the pound, having strength and plain good workmanship as its only
recommendations.  A double-barrelled rifle of about the same calibre
would be useful, taking care to have two stocks for each gun, and that
the barrels could fit into either stock.  I have more than once suffered
from smashed stocks, and they are not easily replaced in Africa.  A
Colt's revolver would also be a very useful weapon, especially when used
in the saddle against elands.  It might be fired when going at speed,
and with greater accuracy than could be attained, under similar
conditions, by an ordinary gun.

When I speak of the game in the immediate vicinity of the two towns of
D'Urban and Pietermaritzburg, I refer to 1849 and '50, but I am given to
understand that there has not been very much decrease since that time.
The emigrant has other work to accomplish, and cannot be always
shooting.  A great deal of hard work must also be gone through before
success in sport is certain, and sportsmen therefore are more scarce
than would be at first considered probable.  During the first three
months that I tried my hand at buck shooting, I shot only five.  After
twelve months' experience, my bag, during ten weeks, was forty-seven;
and I had refused several certain shots at antelopes during that time,
as I was on the fresh spoor of buffaloes and elephants, and did not wish
to disturb the bush.

Far in the interior the game is unlimited in quantity, and the numbers
are quite correctly spoken of by Harris, Cumming, and other sportsmen.
Any one anxious for pure slaughter may there indulge his fancy to any
extent; but I think that the amount of slain is no criterion of the
amount of sport.

The sports of Africa are excellent as remedies against attacks of ennui.
Should any gentleman feel that he has finished everything in Europe,
and is disposed for sport and excitement, let him at once give, up white
kids and patents, and take to skin shoes and leather breeches; lay out a
couple of hundreds in rifles, saddles, and powder, and start for the
wilds of South Africa.  Thirty days to Australia is now talked about,
therefore twenty to the Cape ought to be work easy enough.  That man
must be composed of strange stuff who does not find a new pleasure in
stalking through tropical forests, well stocked with elephants and other
large game; or in riding over plains sprinkled with thousands of
magnificent antelopes; in dodging the charge of an angry rhinoceros; or
escaping the rush of a troop of elephants.

There will be the excitement of midnight hazard, for ivory is plentiful
in Africa, although only in the rough at present, while lions' teeth may
be looked upon as the "bones," and are nearly as fatal.  And if the
traveller is not wide awake, the lion will carry off the stakes to a
certainty.

A man who has passed through an African shooting campaign, will find
that his health is improved; that he is better able to help himself, has
a greater trust in his natural gifts, and that trifles cease to annoy
him.  He will return to England without having lost much of his taste
for his native sports.  He will enter fully into a five-and-thirty
minutes' run across a country at a pace that weeds the mob, or will take
his quiet station near the rippling trout-stream, with just the same
gusto as before his South-African tour.

My parting advice to all sportsmen is--"Try a shooting trip for a year
in the bush, and on the plains of South Africa, the true fairy-land of
sport."



APPENDIX.

The Kaffir words given below may be useful to enable some visitor to
South Africa to make known to the Kaffirs a few of his wants.

I will not vouch for the correctness of the grammar of which I have made
use, but the Kaffirs will understand what may be required from even
these sentences.

Each word ought to be pronounced as it is written, the last syllable but
one being always rested on longer than the others.  The _a_, _e_, and
_i_, are pronounced as in French.  The plural is in general formed by
prefixing _ama_, and dropping in some cases the first syllable; as,
_indoda_, a man; _amadoda_, men; _ihashi_, a horse; _amahaski_, horses.
The numerals are more easily explained by holding up the
fingers,--_shumi_ being ten; _amashumi_, tens.  Thirty would be
explained as tens, three, _amashumi m'tatu_, or by opening and shutting
the hands three times.

The click which is used, by the Kaffirs need not be attempted by the
beginner in the language,--there are so very few words which require the
click, and these few are quite easily understood without it.  The
ambitious linguist frequently renders himself quite unintelligible to a
Kaffir, in consequence of clicking with every word, whether this click
is required or not.  It is far better to pronounce distinctly the simple
word, than to attempt to adorn it by a performance which, as I have
before remarked, cannot be perfectly accomplished until the individual
has lost nearly all his teeth.

To any person who may wish to advance in the Kaffir language I submit a
conjugated verb as a model; but I generally found that _ile_, placed at
the end of the infinitive mood, was quite understood by the Kaffirs for
the past tense: as, _uku hamba_, to go; _hambile_, gone; _tanda_, to
love; _tandile_, have loved, etc.

UKUPOZA, TO DRINK.

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A verb receives a prefix corresponding with the first letter or syllable
of its nominative; as, _Poza_, to drink; _Inja ipoza_, the dog drinks.

The adjectives and adverbs undergo the same variations, partaking of the
prefixes of the substantives with which they may be conjoined; the nouns
form diminutives, thus:--

  Indoda, a man.
  Intombi, a maid.
  Indodana, a little man.
  Intombazana, a little girl.
  Inkozi, a chief.
  Inkosana, a young chief, or a little chief.
  Di, I.
  Wena, you.
  Yena, he.
  Tina, we.
  Zona, they.
  Carbo _or_ Hi, no.
  Er wer _or_ Tar bo, yes.
  Saca bona, a salutation (Good morning).
  Hambani gathly or Solaguthly, Good bye.
  Uya pina?  Where are you going?
  On vel api?  Where have you come from!
  Uku nika, to give.
  Uku hamba, to go.
  Uku yenza, to do.
  Uku zapa, to come.
  Uku biza, to call.
  Uku poza, to drink.
  Uku zisa, to bring.
  Uku ejla, to eat.
  Uku funa, to want.
  Uku bona, to see.
  Uku eswa, to hear.
  Uku tanda, to like.
  Uku sika, to cut.
  Uku hlanza, to clean.
  Uku landela, to follow.
  Uku tenga, to buy.
  Uku zingela, to hunt.
  Uku sebenza, to work.
  Uku kuluma, to talk.
  Uku quela, to ride.
  Indoda, a man.
  Umfazi, a woman.
  Injlu, a house.
  Amanzi, water.
  Umlilo, fire.
  Muti, a tree, or medicine.
  Injlovu, an elephant.
  Imvubu, a hippopotamus.
  Inyati or Inthumba, a buffalo.
  Impophu, an eland.
  Umsiki, a reitbok.
  Impenzi, a duiker.
  Ihashi, a horse.
  Inja, a dog.
  Imfena, a baboon.
  Inkau, a monkey.
  Ingwenie, an alligator.
  Inklanzi, a fish.
  Inyoni, a bird.
  Inyamazan, small game or bucks.
  Lenjlela, a road or path.
  Namhla, to-day.
  Izolo, yesterday.
  Goomso, to-morrow.
  Goomso futi, to-morrow again, the day after to-morrow.
  Futi, again.
  Izolo futi, the day before yesterday.
  Umlungo, a white man.
  Isibum, a gun.
  Umcizi, powder.
  Inyozi, honey.
  N'wela, a waggon.
  Umculu, great.
  N'cani, little.
  Cachema, fast.
  Gathly, slow.
  Ubisi, sweet milk.
  Amasi, sour milk.
  Bulala, to wound or shoot.
  Ipe, where.
  Kona, there.
  Pezulu, up or above.
  Imazi, a cow.
  Pantsi, below or down.
  Inyoka, a snake.
  E'am, mine.
  Incwade, a written letter or note.
  E'arko, yours.
  M'nyama, black.
  Egwi, snuff.
  M'lope, white.
  Ilanga, the sun.
  Ebomvu, red.
  Inyanga, the moon, a month.
  Inkomo, cattle.
  Immali, money.

By joining some of these words together may be formed many useful
sentences; thus:--

  Yenza umlilo, Make a fire.
  Ziza amanzi nami, Bring water to me.
  Dia funa ihashi am, I want my horse.
  Dia funa uku zingela ama injlovu, I want to hunt elephants.
  Mauzapa nami goomso uku sebenza, Come to me to-morrow to work.
  Dia funa uku tenga zinkomo, I want to buy cattle.
  Mongapi?  How many?
  Ishumi, Ten.
  Ubanina?  What is the name of?
  Ubanina amasondo le?  What is the name of these footmarks?
  Engazi, I don't know.
  Chela mena, Tell me.
  E-zapa wena, Come here you.
  Hamba kona, Go there.





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large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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