Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/58

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from one of these beasts, and which I will endeavor to give in his own words.

"As we entered the Swakop River one day," said he, "we observed the tracks of a rhinoceros, and, soon after unyoking our oxen, the men requested to be allowed to go in search of the beast. This I readily granted, only reserving a native to assist me in kindling the fire and preparing our meal. While we were thus engaged, we heard shouting and firing; and, on looking in the direction whence the noise proceeded, discovered, to our horror, a rhinoceros rushing furiously at us at the top of his speed. Our only chance of escape was the wagon, into which we hurriedly flung ourselves. And it was high time that we should seek refuge, for the next instant the enraged brute struck his powerful horn into the 'buik-plank' (the bottom boards) with such force as to push the wagon several paces forward, although it was standing in very heavy sand. Most providentially, he attacked the vehicle from behind; for, if he had struck it on the side, he could hardly have failed to upset it, ponderous as it was. From the wagon he made a dash at the fire, overturning the pot we had placed alongside it, and scattering the burning brands in every direction. Then, without doing any further damage, he proceeded on his wild career. Unfortunately, the men had taken with them all the guns, otherwise, I might easily have shot him dead on the spot. The Damara, however, threw his assegai at him, but the soft iron bent like a reed against his thick and almost impenetrable hide."

The greater part of the afternoon was spent under the shade of some wide-spreading acacias, and in hunting for specimens of natural history. A species of Francolin (francolinus adspersus), and one or two pretty kinds of fly-catchers, were among the day's spoil.

A little before sunset we returned to the camp; and, as we were to continue our journey on the morrow's dawn, we picketed the mules and horses, and made our encampment as