Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/13

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PREFACE.

cretion is, of course, needful in this matter, as, if every portion were to be literally received, we might be led into grievous errors; still, by attending to what many might call absurd superstitions, we not only attain to a knowledge of the mental tendencies of the natives, but are made acquainted with interesting facts touching the geographical distribution of men and inferior animals.

Since the different members constituting the brute creation are so intimately connected with the economy of man, and since many of the beasts and birds indigenous to those parts of Africa visited by the Author are still but imperfectly known, he has thought it advisable to enter largely into their habits, &c., the rather as natural history has from childhood been his favorite pursuit, and is a subject on which he therefore feels conversant; and though part of what he has stated regarding the rhinoceros, the hippopotamus, the koodoo, the ostrich, and others of the almost incalculable varieties of animals found in the African wilderness may be known to some inquirers, it is still hoped that the general reader will find matter he has not previously met with.

The larger portion of the beautiful plates to be found in this work (faithfully depicting the scenes described) are by Mr. Wolf—"the Landseer of animals and vegetation," to quote the words of the Earl of Ellesmere in a note which his lordship did me the honor to write to me.

The Author has endeavored in the following pages faithfully, and in plain and unassuming language, to record his experiences, impressions, feelings, and impulses, under circumstances often peculiarly trying.