Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/62

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

much regretted: the horse, moreover, was the best of the two we had brought from the Cape.

On examining the ground, we were glad to find that the other horse and remaining mule had made good their escape down the bed of the river, though evidently pursued by the lions for some distance. How many of these beasts there really had been we were unable to ascertain, but they could not have been less than seven or eight.

Having thus far ascertained the fate of the poor animals, we dispatched our brave wagon-driver for Stewardson and the remainder of the men, as also for proper guns and ammunition, as we had determined, if possible, to have our revenge.

On leaving Scheppmansdorf, we had, unfortunately, only brought with us three or four small goats as provision for the journey. This scanty supply was now nearly exhausted, and it being uncertain when we should meet with any native village where we could barter for more, we deemed it advisable, in order to provide against contingencies, to lay in a store of mule-flesh and horse-flesh; and though our people seemed horror-stricken at the idea, there was not a second alternative. While waiting the return of the men, we accordingly set about cutting off from the slain animals such pieces as had not been defiled by the lions. This being accomplished, we covered the meat with a heap of stones, and the men having arrived, we proceeded in search of the depredators.

But, though we beat both sides of the river for a considerable distance, we were unable to discover the beasts. At one time, and when I was quite alone on the inner side of the thick reed-bed that lined the bank, I observed some beautiful "klip-springers," or mountain gazelles, and fired both barrels, though, unfortunately, without effect. The report of my gun caused a momentary consternation to Mr. Galton and the men, who imagined that I had fallen in with the