Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/172

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means a despicable antagonist. Indeed, instances are known where they have perished together. At Omanbondè, we were told that a combat of this kind occurred not long before our arrival. A rhinoceros, having encountered an elephant, made a furious dash at him, striking his long sharp horn into the belly of his antagonist with such force as to be unable to extricate himself, and in his fall the elephant crushed his assailant to death.

In sauntering one day about the neighborhood of Omanbondè, Galton suddenly found himself confronted by a lion, which seems terribly to have terrified him; and he candidly tells us that, being only armed with a small rifle, he would "much rather have viewed him at a telescopic distance."

As soon as we had somewhat recovered from our bitter disappointment, we began seriously to consider our situation, and to consult on our future plans. Once more we were without a definite object. Should we return, or push boldly forward? At one time my friend entertained thoughts of going no farther; in which case, though it was probable we might reach home in safety, it was very certain we should reap but little credit for what had been done. On the other hand, by continuing to travel northward, we exposed ourselves to much risk and danger. From experience, we were aware that, to accomplish even a comparatively short distance in our very slow mode of traveling, months would elapse. In that time, all the pools and vleys which now contained water would probably be dried up. This would be certain destruction to ourselves and cattle. Besides this, our men were disheartened, and wished to return. However, in that respect there would be less difficulty, as they were now nearly as much dependent on us as we on them, inasmuch as a broad tract of wild, inhospitable country separated us from the nearest point of civilization.

From Jonker Afrikaner and various other sources of information, we had already learned that at a considerable