Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/389

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VIRTUE OF THE HORNS—THE CHASE.

"The horn of the rhinoceros," Kolben tells us, "will not endure the touch of poison. I have often been a witness to this. Many people of fashion at the Cape have cups turn'd out of the rhinoceros horn. Some have them set in silver, and some in gold. If wine is pour'd into one of these cups, it immediately rises and bubbles up as if it were boiling; and if there be poison in it, the cup immediately splits. If poison be put by itself into one of those cups, the cup, in an instant, flies to pieces. Tho' this matter is known to thousands of persons, yet some writers have affirm'd that the rhinoceros horn has no such virtue. The chips made in turning one of those cups are ever carefully sav'd, and return'd to the owner of the cup, being esteem'd of great benefit in convulsions, faintings, and many other illnesses."

The chase of the rhinoceros is variously conducted in Southern Africa. One of the most approved plans is to stalk the animal either when feeding or reposing. If the sportsman keep well under the wind, and there be the least cover, he has no difficulty in approaching the beast within easy range, when, if the ball be well directed, the prey is usually killed on the spot. With a little precaution, this kind of sport may be conducted without greatly endangering a person's safety.

But by far the most convenient way of destroying this animal is to shoot him from the "skärm" as he comes to the pool to quench his thirst. In this manner I have myself killed several scores of rhinoceroses.

Occasionally he is also taken in pitfalls, which are constructed in pretty much the same manner as those for the capture of elephants and other large game.

He is not often pursued on horseback, and chiefly because his speed and endurance are such that it is very difficult to come up with and follow him, to say nothing of the danger attendant on such a course. Many a hunter, indeed, has thereby endangered his life.