Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/353

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instrument. His blood was up, however, and, seeing my rifle standing against the wall of the old church, he made a rush for it, and was about to discharge the contents into one of his tormentors, when, throwing myself hurriedly between the contending parties, I fortunately prevented the catastrophe. Being now convinced that a storm was brewing, I quickly pushed the boy through the door of the building, and placed myself resolutely at the entrance.

Notwithstanding the Namaquas would not hesitate to shoot any of their slaves for the smallest offense, they consider such an act on the part of one of the subjected race against his master to be of so atrocious a character that they would undoubtedly have torn the lad to pieces had I not been present. As it was, they rose to a man, and swore they would have his life. The boy, on his part, instead of betraying any symptoms of fear, was foaming with rage, and, had I permitted it, would unhesitatingly have attacked the whole party.

Finding that I was determined to foil them of their victim, they turned their ire on me. I quietly told them that the lad was in my employ, and that, if they left him alone, I would duly investigate the matter, and, should I find him guilty, would punish him severely; but, if they chose to take the law into their own hands, they must look to the consequences, for they should only pass to the youth over my body. This somewhat cooled their rage, and, after much parleying, the matter was finally and peaceably settled.

Many a time since has the same boy, by the violence of his temper, placed me and himself in the most critical positions, and I often marveled that he was not killed. At last he received a severe lesson. Having one day coquetted with some Kalahari women, the indignant husband or parent sent him off with two poisoned arrows, one of which pierced his nose, and the other transfixed his arm. For a short time he suffered agonies, but escaped with his life.

Excepting his passionate temper, he was an excellent fel-