Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/120

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He also wrote to Jonker Afrikaner (having previously sent messengers to him while at Richterfeldt), remonstrating with him on the barbarity and injustice of his conduct. Jonker is a leading chieftain among the Namaqua-Hottentots. He headed in person the greater part of the marauding expeditions into Damara-land.

Having spent a few days agreeably and usefully at Barmen, we prepared to return to our camp at Richterfeldt; but when the day of departure had arrived, I felt very feverish, and Galton was obliged to prosecute his journey without me. In a short time, however, I was able to follow.

On riding briskly along early one morning, I observed, as I thought, a solitary zebra a few hundred yards in advance. Instantly alighting, and leaving "Spring" to take care of himself, I made toward the quarry, gun in hand, under cover of a few small trees. Having proceeded for some distance, I peeped cautiously from behind a bush, when I found, to my astonishment, that the animal which I had taken for a zebra was nothing less than a noble lion. He was quietly gazing at me. I must confess I felt a little startled at the unexpected apparition; but, recovering quickly from my surprise, I advanced to meet him. He, however, did not think fit to wait till I was within proper range, but turned tail, and fled toward the Swakop. Hoping to be able to come to close quarters with him, I followed at the top of my speed, and was rapidly gaining ground on the brute, when suddenly, with two or three immense bounds, he cleared an open space, and was the next moment hidden from view among the thick reeds that here lined the banks of the river. Having no dogs with me, all my efforts to dislodge him from his stronghold proved unavailing. While still lingering about the place, I came upon the carcass of a gnoo, on which a troop of lions had apparently been feasting not many minutes previously. Undoubtedly my somewhat dastardly friend had been one of the party.