Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/505

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497
APPROACHING THE HIPPOPOTAMUS.

to launch the canoes, should the attack prove successful. The bustle and noise caused by these preparations gradually subside. Conversation is carried on in a whisper, and every one is on the qui vive. The snorting and plunging become every moment more distinct; but a bend in the stream still hides the animals from view. The angle being passed, several dark objects are seen floating listlessly on the water, looking more like the crests of sunken rocks than living creatures. Ever and anon, one or other of the shapeless masses is submerged, but soon again makes its appearance on the surface. On, on glides the raft with its sable crew, who are now worked up to the highest state of excitement. At last the raft is in the midst of the herd, who appear quite unconscious of danger. Presently one of the animals is in immediate contact with the raft. Now is the critical moment. The foremost harpooner raises himself to his full height to give

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THE REED-RAFT AND HARPOONERS.