Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/44

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never exceeding seventy-five degrees in the shade at noon. The sand, however, was a cruel annoyance, entering into every particle of food, and penetrating our clothes to the very skin. But we were subjected to a still more formidable inconvenience; for, besides myriads of fleas, our encampment swarmed with a species of bush-tick, whose bite was so severe and irritating as almost to drive us mad. To escape, if possible, the horrible persecutions of these bloodthirsty creatures, I took refuge one night in the cart, and was congratulating myself on having at last secured a place free from their attacks. But I was mistaken. I had not been long asleep before I was awakened by a disagreeable irritation over my whole body, which shortly became intolerable; and, notwithstanding the night air was very sharp, and the dew heavy, I cast off all my clothes, and rolled on the icy-cold sand till the blood flowed freely from every pore. Strange as it may appear, I found this expedient serviceable.

On another occasion, a bush-tick, but of a still more poisonous species, attached itself to one of my feet; and, though a stinging sensation was produced, I never thought of examining the part, till one day, when enjoying the unusual luxury of a cold bath, I accidentally discovered the intruder deeply buried in the flesh, and it was only with very great pain that I succeeded in extracting it, or rather its body, for the head remained in the wound. The poisonous effect of its bite was so acrimonious as to cause partial lameness for three following months!

The bush-tick does not confine its attacks to men only, for it attaches itself with even greater pertinacity to the inferior animals. Many a poor dog have I seen killed by its relentless persecutions; and even the sturdy ox has been known to succumb under the poisonous influence of these insects.[1]

  1. When a bush-tick is found attached to any part of the body of a man, the simplest and the most effectual way of getting rid of it, without any disagreeable result, is to anoint the place to which the