Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/101

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93
ATTACKED BY LIONS.

ing themselves to and fro in a manner not easily described, and whisking, at regular intervals, from side to side, their tails, tufted at the end, while their long and tapering necks, swaying backward and forward, follow the motion of their bodies.

On account of the many short turns, the hilly nature of the ground in places, and the unusual length of the wagons, we anticipated considerable difficulty in the course of this stage. But we got safely through it without accident of any kind, and arrived at Tjobis Fountain about nine o'clock.

We left this place the evening of the same day, and, with the exception of resting for an hour or two by the way, we pushed on throughout the night.

At daybreak, and just as we reached the Swakop, we were suddenly startled by the most tremendous roaring of lions, which evidently were close at hand. In a few moments afterward, two of those magnificent beasts—male and female—emerged from the bushes at about one hundred and fifty paces ahead of us. On perceiving the cavalcade, they gave another terrific roar, of so angry a nature as to cause the greatest consternation among the cattle. Those attached to the foremost wagon wheeled round instantaneously, and, before it was possible to prevent them, ran right into the midst of the aftermost team, and I expected every moment to see the vehicles capsized or smashed to atoms.

What with the bellowing of the oxen, the shouting and screaming of the men, the smashing and breaking of yokes, &c., and the continued roar of the lions, the scene was such as to baffle all description.

The lion himself, after having approached very near to us, again retreated into the bushes; but the lioness seated herself quietly within less than a hundred yards of the wagons, growling most furiously. Throwing the reins over the saddle of "Spring," who, by-the-by, had nearly unseated me on the first appearance of the lions, I sprang to the ground, and seizing a double-barreled gun, which I always kept loaded