Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/466

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In consequence of the frail structure of our craft, and the boatmen's tenacity in keeping near the shore, we were two days in getting from the Zouga to the western extremity of the Lake, although, in reality, it is only one good day's voyage. It was not, therefore, until the third day that we reached the chief entrance of the mouth of the Teoge (for here the river spreads out into several branches), where there is a bar. The water was so low on it that although the stream was fast rising at the time (August), we were forced to draw the canoes across it by main force. It is true we might have avoided the inconvenience by proceeding a mile or two to the westward, where a channel exists that is said to be navigable at all seasons.

Our voyage across the Lake was attended with no incident worth recording, but, on reaching the point just mentioned, I had a little adventure with a leché, hundreds of which might be seen grazing and sporting among the shallows and the numerous little islets of the Teoge.

I had gone in advance of my party in the hope of obtaining a shot; but though I met with vast numbers of animals, the openness of the ground prevented me from getting within range. Being quite tired by my severe but fruitless exertions, I was resting on the rifle, contemplating the novel and striking scene—the Lake, with its broad blue waters—its finely-wooded shores—the varied and vast herds of animals—the Teoge, with its numerous little channels and sedgy shores—when I saw, a little ahead of me, two magnificent stag lechés approaching each other, evidently with no friendly intentions. I was right in my conjecture, for in a few seconds afterward they were engaged in combat. Taking advantage of this lucky incident, I approached, unperceived, within a dozen paces, when I quickly dropped on one knee and took a deliberate aim at the shoulder of the nearest; but, just as I pulled the trigger, he received a violent thrust from his antagonist, which made him swerve to one side, and