Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/472

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mediately to a stand, and, facing round, they confronted us in one dark mass. Taking advantage of a tree at some little distance ahead, I stalked to within about one hundred and fifty paces of this formidable phalanx. Resting the gun on a branch, I took a steady aim at the leading bull; but, though I very distinctly heard the bullet strike him, he did not flinch in the slightest degree.

One of the natives having by this time mustered courage to steal up to me with my rifle, I fired a second time, though at another of the herd, but with no better result. Six several times, at the least, did I repeat the dose, and though on each occasion the ball told loudly on the animal's body, neither it nor any one of the herd (strange as it may appear) budged an inch! They seemed to be chained to the spot by some invisible power, eyeing me all the while with an ominous and sinister look. Their strange and unaccountable bearing puzzled me beyond measure. I expected every instant to see them charge down upon me. But, even had this happened—though I am free to confess I felt any thing but comfortable—my personal safety would not, perhaps, have been much endangered, as by ascending the tree against which I was leaning I should have been out of harm's way. However, I was not driven to this extremity; for, while about to ram down another ball, the whole herd suddenly wheeled about, and, with a peculiar shrieking noise, tails switching to and fro over their backs, and heads lowered almost to the ground, they made off at a furious pace.

On proceeding to the spot where the buffaloes had been standing, I observed large patches of blood on the ground, and felt convinced that both the animals at which I had fired must have been severely, if not mortally wounded. We followed their tracks for a considerable distance, but saw no more of them. From information received from the Bushmen at a subsequent period, however, there is little doubt that both perished.