Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/350

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

dilemma, kindly proposed to place some of his oxen at my disposal as far as Barmen. I gratefully accepted the disinterested offer, and having obtained a few more oxen from the Namaqua chief Jacob, at Scheppmansdorf, I prepared to commence my journey with one of the wagons, leaving the other to follow as soon as my cattle arrived. Rehoboth having been appointed as the place of rendezvous, I started.

My course, as on former occasions, lay by Tincas, Onanis, and Tjobis, places well known to the reader. I saw a good deal of game, but was too much pressed for time to stop and shoot. Until we reached Richterfeldt, little or nothing of interest occurred. William and Bonfield, in rambling about the hills one day, stumbled upon a lion, and it being the first time they had ever seen the dreaded beast in his native state, they became almost petrified with fear.

I also had an opportunity of shooting one of these animals. While one day pursuing some gemsboks, a lion unexpectedly sprang out of a bush within forty or fifty paces of me. The brute's sudden appearance somewhat startled me, but I had so often been balked in my attempts to get a shot at lions that I only hesitated for a moment. Accordingly, the lion having turned round to look at me, I took a deliberate aim at his forehead and fired, and, as good luck would have it, with deadly effect. Indeed, so accurate was my aim that it almost split his skull in two, and, as a matter of course, killed him on the spot.

My prize proved a full-grown male, but his hide was so much worn and torn that I did not deem it worth the trouble of preservation.

Lions had been unusually numerous and daring during the year. Mr. Rath's wagon-driver, Piet, a mighty Nimrod, and his two foster-sons, had killed upward of twenty in the course of a few months. And many and wonderful were their escapes from these animals.

One night the old man was awakened by a peculiar noise