Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/415

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I now expected nothing short of being crushed to death. But imagine my relief when, instead of renewing the charge, he swerved to the left, and moved off with considerable rapidity, most happily without my having received other injuries than a few bruises, occasioned by the falling of the stones. Under Providence, I attribute my extraordinary escape to the confusion of the animal, caused by the wound I had inflicted on him, and to the cries elicited from me when in my utmost need.

Immediately after the elephant had left me I was on my legs, and, snatching up a spare rifle lying at hand, I pointed at him as he was retreating, and pulled the trigger; but, to my intense mortification, the piece missed fire. It was matter of thankfulness to me, however, that a similar mishap had not occurred when the animal charged; for, had my gun not then exploded, nothing, as I conceive, could have saved me from destruction.

During this incident the rest of the elephants retreated into the bush; but by the time I had repaired my "skärm," they reappeared with stealthy and cautious steps on the opposite side of the pool, though so distant that I could not fire with any prospect of success. As they did not approach nearer, I attempted to stalk them, but they would not allow me to come to close quarters, and after a while moved off altogether.

While pondering over my late wonderful escape, I observed, at a little distance, a huge white rhinoceros protrude his ponderous and misshapen head through the bushes, and presently afterward he approached to within a dozen paces of my ambuscade. His broadside was then fully exposed to view, and notwithstanding I still felt a little nervous from my conflict with the elephant, I lost no time in firing. The beast did not at once fall to the ground, but from appearances I had every reason to believe he would not live long.

Scarcely had I reloaded when a black rhinoceros of the