Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/404

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the Bushmen gorge on the carcass of elephants is very disgusting; and the process of cutting it up, in which they show no little method and dexterity, is nearly equally so.

Elephants, rhinoceroses, gnoos, zebras, &c., were now shot almost nightly. Giraffes were not very numerous in this neighborhood, but occasionally they made their appearance at the pool, when I managed to get a shot.[1]

Late one evening, in another part of the country, I had badly wounded a lion, and at an early hour on the succeeding morning was following the bloody tracks of the beast, in the hope of putting an end to his career. Presently we came upon the "spoor" of a whole troop of lions, as also that of a solitary giraffe. So many tracks confused us; and while endeavoring to pick out from the rest those of the wounded lion, I observed my native attendants suddenly rush forward, and the next instant the jungle re-echoed with shouts of triumph. Thinking they had discovered the lion we were in pursuit of, I also hurried forward; but imagine my surprise when, emerging into an opening in the jungle, I saw, not a dead lion, as I expected, but five living lions (two males and three females), two of whom were in the act of pulling down a splendid giraffe, the other three watching, close at hand, and with devouring looks, the deadly strife. The beautiful illustration facing the title-page of this volume is an exact representation of this most interesting incident.

The scene was of so imposing a nature that, for the moment, I forgot I carried a gun. The natives, however, in anticipation of a "glorious gorge," dashed madly forward, and, with the most piercing shrieks and yells, compelled the lions to beat a hasty retreat.

When I reached the giraffe, now stretched at full length on the sand, it made a few ineffectual attempts to raise its

  1. It was my intention to introduce at length the history of this animal; but being (as already alluded to in a preceding chapter) confined as to space, I must, though reluctantly, abandon the idea.