Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/122

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had not yet succeeded in obtaining a sufficiency of animals. He was also anxious to see and explore Erongo, a mountain famous at once for its peculiar formation, and as a stronghold of that curious race, the Hill-Damaras. Mr. Galton was accompanied by Hans, who had already visited the place, and a few other servants. On his return from Erongo, we were to start, with the wagons, up the country.

One day, when eating my humble dinner, I was interrupted by the arrival of several natives, who, in breathless haste, related that an ongeama, or lion, had just killed one of their goats close to the mission station (Richterfeldt), and begged of me to lend them a hand in destroying the beast. They had so often cried "wolf" that I did not give much heed to their statements; but, as they persisted in their story, I at last determined to ascertain its truth. Having strapped to my waist a shooting-belt, containing the several requisites of a hunter, such as bullets, caps, knife, &c., I shouldered my trusty double-barreled gun (after loading it with steel-pointed balls), and followed the men.

In a short time we reached the spot where the lion was believed to have taken refuge. This was in a dense tamarisk brake of some considerable extent, situated partially on and below the sloping banks of the Swakop, near to its junction with the Ommutenna, one of its tributaries.

On the rising ground above the brake in question were drawn up, in battle array, a number of Damaras and Namaquas, some armed with assegais, and a few with guns. Others of the party were in the brake itself, endeavoring to oust the lion.

But as it seemed to me that the "beaters" were timid, and, moreover, somewhat slow in their movements, I called them back, and, accompanied by only one or two persons, as also a few worthless dogs, entered the brake myself. It was rather a dangerous proceeding; for, in places, the cover was so thick and tangled as to oblige me to creep on my hands