Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/244

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imal, on receiving a mortal wound, charged me with such fury as to carry completely away the fore part of my “skärm,” and I only saved my life by throwing myself with great force against the opposite wall, which fortunately gave way.

At another time I was walking leisurely up to a huge female white rhinoceros, that Mr. Galton had killed during the preceding night, when all at once its calf, about the size of an ox, rushed upon me from behind the carcass. Its movements were so rapid that I had neither time to get out of its way nor to level my gun; but passing the barrel, like a stick, against its chest, I fired, and, as luck would have it, the ball caused the calf to swerve on one side and take itself off. A short time afterward, and at no great distance from our encampment, it was found dead.

Being tired of shooting, and having got all the information we could from the Bushmen, we bent our steps homeward. Our failure in not reaching the Lake Ngami deeply mortified me. Night and day I was haunted by the thought. Taking every thing into consideration, I could not help thinking that, under more favorable circumstances, success would crown my endeavors, were I determined to renew the attempt. Accordingly, I made up my mind first to see my friend safe from the African shore, and then to return as soon as the rains had fallen.

I communicated my resolve to Mr. Galton, who at once fully entered into my views; and as I had neither oxen nor wagons, he kindly promised to supply me with both, as also with such articles of barter as his own reduced stores afforded.

After nearly a month's absence, we found ourselves safe at Elephant Fountain. Notwithstanding we had been almost solely living on fresh meat during this time, we had only used the one half of a small copper-cap box[1] of salt! I

  1. A copper-cap box, for the information of my female readers, is about the size of a pill-box.