Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/470

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of buffaloes were unusually numerous; and, having hitherto seen little of that animal, I determined to halt for a day or two, in the hope not only of becoming better acquainted with it, but of having good sport. The surrounding scenery, besides, was attractive, which was an additional inducement to devote a short time to rest and amusement.

The first night that I passed at a "skärm" was a failure in respect of game, owing probably to my being to windward of the point whence the buffaloes were likely to come, who, getting scent of me from a distance, did not venture to approach my place of concealment. A small herd of these animals, however, came within range of Timbo, whom I had also placed in ambush some little way from me; but, as usual, he missed, and they all went off unhurt.

Returning to the camp the following morning, the natives, on hearing of our ill luck, looked so hungry and unhappy withal, that, although I stood greatly in need of rest and refreshment, I again shouldered my rifle and started off in search of game.

On this occasion I was accompanied by about a score of natives. A couple of pallahs and a koodoo were soon bagged, but a noble sassaby that we met with got off unscathed.

Afterward we searched long without finding any thing, but the numerous tracks of buffaloes testified that this part of the country was a favorite haunt of those animals. At last we came to the skirts of a dense thicket; and, peering among the bushes, I presently espied several dark objects on the ground, which at once struck me must be buffaloes. Placing my finger on my lips as a sign that silence was required, and pointing in the direction of the dark objects, I whispered the word "onja," meaning buffalo. Not the presence of his satanic majesty could have caused greater consternation among my followers; for no sooner was the magic word uttered, than one and all of them wheeled about, and made a headlong retreat. One of the men was carrying a