Page:Sawdust & Spangles.djvu/47

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25
STOCKING A MENAGERIE

The interior of the huts would have charmed an artist. Elephant tusks, lion and leopard skins, hunting-hats and coats, tall wading-boots, rifles and pistols, bright-colored flannel shirts and bits of harness were scattered about in picturesque confusion. In a safe place, where it could not possibly be scratched or disfigured, was the choicest treasure within the four strong walls, a large German accordion. In the long evenings, after the perils and labors of the hunt, Lohse played this instrument by the hour to his hunters as they puffed great clouds of smoke and dreamed of the Fatherland.

The camp was pitched in a clearing on the bank of a little river and was closed by a high and thick hedge of a native thorn. At night, after the pack animals had been fed, watered and housed or tethered, great fires were built at irregular intervals about the grounds to scare off wild beasts, and the watch was set. Then began the dismal howl of the hyena, the roar of the lion, and the shriek of the wildcat. About five o'clock in the morning the camp was again astir and the business of the day was begun. The native hunters formed in companies of about twenty, with a white leader and started off in different directions. Those