Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/392

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fire my gun at random into his head, when I felt myself impaled on his horn.

"The shock stunned me completely. The first return to consciousness was, I recollect, finding myself seated on one of my ponies, and a Caffre leading it. I had an indistinct notion of having been hunting, and, on observing the man, I asked quickly why he was not following the track of the animal, when he mumbled something to the effect that it was gone.

"By accident I touched my right hip with my hand, and on withdrawing it, was astonished to find it clotted with blood. Yet my senses were still so confused, and the side so benumbed, that I actually kept feeling and working the wound with my fingers. While trying to account for my strange position, I observed some of my men coming toward me with a cartel, and on asking them what they were about, they cried out that they had come to fetch my body, having been told that I was killed by some animal. The truth now for the first time broke upon me, and I was quickly made aware of my crippled condition. The wound I had received was of a very serious character, and, though it ultimately healed, it left scars behind which no doubt will remain to the day of my death."

We are fond of the marvelous. It is generally received as a fact that the hide of the rhinoceros is impenetrable to a bullet, or even to an "iron ingot," as a certain writer quaintly expresses it. But this is just as idle a notion, as regards the African species at least, as that entertained respecting the softness and pliability of the animal's horns, for a common leaden ball will find its way through the hide with the greatest facility. It is true, one should be near the brute; for, though I have known a rhinoceros killed at the distance of a hundred yards, it is an exception to the rule. Indeed, beyond thirty or forty paces one can not make sure of the shot. Under all circumstances, a double charge of powder is desirable.