Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/420

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

coup de grace, when, to my horror, she once more rose on her legs. Taking a hurried aim, I pulled the trigger, and instantly retreated, with the beast in full pursuit. The race, however, was a short one, for, just as I threw myself into a bush for safety, she fell dead at my feet, so near me, indeed, that I could have touched her with the muzzle of my rifle! Another moment, and I should probably have been impaled on her murderous horn, which, though short, was sharp as a razor.[1]

When reflecting on the wonderful and providential escapes I recently experienced, I could not help thinking that I had been spared for some good purpose, and my heart was lifted in humble gratitude to the Almighty, who had thus extended over me His protecting hand.

The second day after the scenes described my bruises began to show themselves, and on the third day they were fully developed, giving my body a black and yellow hue. So far as I was aware, none of my bones were broken; but burning and agonizing pains in the region of the chest were clearly symptomatic of severe internal injury. Indeed, at first, serious apprehensions were entertained for my life. After great suffering, however, I recovered; and, as my shooting mania had by this time somewhat cooled down, my whole thoughts were bent on seeing the Ngami. Though my frame was quite unequal to bear fatigue, my spirit would not brook longer delay.

With the assistance of my men, I therefore mounted my steed on the 23d of July, and was off for the Lake, leaving my hunting spoils and other effects under the care of the Bushman-chief at Kobis.

  1. The black rhinoceros is, under all circumstances, as already mentioned, a morose and sulky beast. The one in question was unusually savage, as she had probably a young sucking calf. We did not see the latter, it is true, but assumed such to be the case from the beast's teats being full of milk. It is most likely that her offspring was of too tender an age to accompany her, and that, as not unfrequently happens, she concealed it among the bushes when about to quench her thirst at the pool.