Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/200

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ergetic orations, they had no more effect on the ear of royalty than if addressed to a stock or a stone. It was in vain that he represented to his majesty the advantages of a more immediate communication with Europeans. Nangoro spoke little or nothing. He could not be eloquent because excessive fat had made him short-winded. Like Falstaff, his "voice was broken." Any attempt on his part to utter a sentence of decent length would have put an end to him, so he merely "grunted" whenever he desired to express either approbation or dissatisfaction.

In common with his men, he was at first very incredulous as to the effect produced by fire-arms; but when he witnessed the depth that our steel-pointed conical balls penetrated into the trunk of a sound tree, he soon changed his opinion, and evidently became favorably impressed with their efficacy. As for the men of his tribe who had not yet seen guns, and who had flocked to the camp to have a look at us, they became so alarmed that, at the instant of each discharge, they fell flat on their faces, and remained in their prostrate position for some little time afterward. A few very indifferent fireworks which we displayed created nearly equal surprise and consternation.

In another interview with Nangoro he requested us to shoot some elephants, which were said to abound at no great distance, and which, at times, committed great havoc among the corn-fields, trampling down what they did not consume. However much we might have relished the proposal under other circumstances, we now peremptorily refused to comply. We reasoned thus: "Supposing we were successful, Nangoro would not only bag all the ivory—an article he was known to covet and to sell largely to the Portuguese—but he would keep us in Ondonga till all the elephants were shot or scared away." Neither of these results suited our purpose. The cunning fellow soon had an opportunity of revenging himself on us for this disregard of his royal wish.