Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/409

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her. No sooner, however, had I effected my escape, than the whole herd made a simultaneous rush at me, and trumpeted so shrilly as to cause every man at the camp, as I learned afterward, to start out of his sleep. Fortunately, the darkness prevented the beasts from following me; and, the jungle being close by, I was soon in safety. In my precipitate flight, however, I severely lacerated my feet; for, when stalking the elephants, I had taken off my shoes, that I might the better steal upon them.

When, after a while, I ventured out of my place of concealment, I found every thing quiet; only one solitary elephant remained. Having approached within a short distance, I could distinctly see him laving water on to his sides with his trunk. I immediately suspected he belonged to the troop of seven bulls, and was the one that I had fired at. Seating myself right across his path, I quietly watched his proceedings. After a time I saw him, as I thought, moving off in an opposite direction; but I was mistaken, for in another instant his towering form loomed above me. It was too late to get out of his way; so, quickly raising myself on one knee, I took a steady aim at his fore leg. On receiving the ball he uttered the most plaintive cries, and, rushing past me, soon disappeared in the neighboring forest. The next afternoon he was discovered dead within rifle-shot of the water. It had been a very successful night, for a fine female elephant had also fallen to my other shot.[1]

  1. I lost many noble beasts from the small calibre of my guns, which did not carry more than fourteen and seventeen balls respectively to the pound. This was more especially the case as regarded the elephants; and it was not until after a time, and when they had become scarce and shy, that I found out the way of bringing them down with any certainty at one or two shots. I found the best part to aim at (when shooting by night) was the shoulder, either behind or in the centre, near to the lower edge of the ear. Another good point, provided the gun be of large calibre, is to fire at the leg, which once broken, the animal, in almost every instance, is completely at the mercy of the hunter.