Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/65

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57
PURSUIT OF A RHINOCEROS.

was, that before we were half through the allotted stage the sun had reached its zenith, and scorched and harassed us dreadfully.

As yet, with the exception of a few zebras, &c., we had seen no wild animals, though the "spoor" or track of the gnoo and the gemsbok were frequent enough. This day, however, at a turn of the road, we came suddenly upon a few of the latter, but the sight so fascinated us that, instead of firing, as we might have done, for they were within range, we gazed at them in astonishment.

We passed the night at a fountain called Annis, situated on the side of the river. On the following morning, and at only a few hundred paces from our bivouac, we discovered the tracks of several rhinoceroses. Finding that one of these animals had been drinking in a pool hard by during the latter part of the night, Galton, Stewardson, and myself went in search of the beast, the cart following in the bed of the river. But, though we pursued the tracks of the animal at a pretty rapid pace for nearly three hours, we were unable to come up with him, and therefore discontinued the chase in despair and rejoined our caravan.

During the following day I observed several curious-looking crested parrots of a grayish color, which screamed discordantly on our approach; but as they always perched on the top of the very highest trees, and kept an excellent lookout, I could not possibly get within gunshot.

I met, besides, with a vast number of delicate and pretty butterflies, as also a wasp-looking fly of the most brilliant dark blue. Having struck one of these to the ground, I was about to secure it, when it stung me severely in the hand, and in a very few seconds the wounded part began to fester, and swelled to an enormous size, causing the most acute pain.

While following the bed of the river, our mules and cattle fared sumptuously; for, although we found but little grass, there was always an abundance of fine young reeds; but,

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