Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/80

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Early one morning we reached Annis Fountain, where, as on a previous occasion, we observed a number of rhinoceros tracks. Leaving the men to take care of the oxen, Hans, Stewardson, and myself selected the freshest "spoor," and started off in pursuit; but after several hours' hard walking under a burning sun, we were apparently as far from the quarry as ever, and Stewardson, who was quite knocked up, used his best endeavors to persuade us from proceeding farther. We would not listen to him, however, but, allowing him to return to the encampment, continued to toil on, though with but little hope of success.

An hour might have elapsed after we had thus parted from Stewardson when I observed in a distant glen a dark object, which, as it excited my suspicion, I instantly pointed out to Hans, who would not believe that it was any thing but a large "boulder." Nevertheless, we proceeded toward the spot, and I soon saw that the shapeless mass was nothing less than the rhinoceros of which we were in search. Hans, however, who had had frequent opportunities of seeing this animal in all positions, remained skeptical on the point, and it was not till we were within about twenty paces of the beast that his doubts were removed. With noiseless and quickened step, and our guns on the fullest cock, we made up to the monster, which still gave no signs of life. At last, however, one of us whistled, on which, and with the rapidity of thought, the beast sat up on its haunches, and surveyed us with a curious and sulky look. But it was only a moment; for, before he had time to get on his legs, two well-directed balls laid him prostrate within less than half a dozen paces of our feet.

In the pride of success, I somewhat foolishly leaped upon his back, and, African-like, plunged my hunting-knife into the flesh, to ascertain if our prize was fat. But whether life was not altogether extinct, or that the sudden access of my weight caused a vibration in the lately-living body, certain it