Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/399

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391
AN ELEPHANT WOUNDED—COURAGEOUS DOG.

The second night after my arrival at Abeghan, and when lying in wait near the water for wild animals, I was surprised by three huge bull-elephants, whose approach had been so silent that, before I was aware of their presence, they were within ten paces of me. I was ambushed in a very exposed place, but nevertheless stoutly held my ground, and, taking a steady aim at the fore leg of the leader, fired. As he wheeled about I saluted him with the contents of the second barrel. He gave a loud shriek, and, curling up his trunk, trotted quickly away. The next day we followed many a weary mile on his track. He had separated from the rest; but we were unable to overtake him. Some time afterward, however, I heard of his death. The Bushmen brought the tusks.

The same evening I shot a couple of rhinoceroses. One of them, on receiving my ball, made a headlong charge, and was so close upon me that, to avoid actual contact, I threw myself backward and fell to the ground. He then ran a few hundred yards, when he came to a stand. At break of day my men went on his trail. He had still strength enough to make a dash at them, and would probably have laid hold of some of them, had not a small bitch (half terrier and half bull dog), called "Venus" (in derision of her ugliness), caught the enraged animal by the lower lip, where she stuck with such tenacity that the rhinoceros, with all his fury, was unable to shake her off. She only relinquished her hold when her huge antagonist was fairly laid prostrate by a ball.

But the sagacity of this favorite dog was as great as her courage. Being now in a game country, all sorts of beasts of prey abounded, more especially jackals, which might be seen running about by dozens. In order not to frighten the elephants and other large animals, we were in the habit of encamping some little way from the water, to which Miss "Venus" regularly resorted to bathe and drink. On perceiving a jackal, she instantly crouched, looking very timid. "Reynard," mistaking her posture as an indication of fear,