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A Hunting Trip-Round the Bivouac Fire—The Hunter's Tale

Carried off by a Lion—The Shooting Laws in the Desert – The Ophir of Scripture-Baboons hunting a Leopard—The Natal Rock Snake.

E have for a time omitted the individual adven

tures of Hans, and have endeavoured to give a

brief account of those events in all of which he was an active participator, and which led to the emigrants possessing for a time the Natal district.

So occupied had Hans been with the wars of the time, that Katrine had seen but little of him. Now that affairs were more peaceable, Hans wished to marry at once; but Katrine was mourning for several relatives who had been murdered with Retief's party, or slaughtered at Weenen ; she therefore put it off for six months, a proceeding to which her lover greatly objected. Finding she was determined, however, he had no alternative; and so, to make the time pass as rapidly as possible, he arranged with his old companions, Victor and Bernhard, and three other farmers, to go on an elephant-hunting expedition up the

A New Expedition.


country to the north-east, where it was reported elephants abounded.

The party who started on this expedition each took a waggon, which was drawn by fourteen oxen. Accompanying the waggon was a Hottentot driver and three Kaffirs. From four to five horses were taken by each hunter, so that the party amounted to nearly thirty in all. It was quite an unexplored country where these hunters intended to travel, and so there was an additional interest in this expedition. Guns and ammunition were in plenty, and it was anticipated that considerable profit would be derived from the ivory and skins which would be taken during the journey.

"Well, Victor,' said Hans, as the two sat in a tent which had been brought with them, 'we have scarcely had a long chat since our battles with the Zulus. Tell me of your escapes.'

'I had several,' replied Victor ; 'the nearest, though, was when we went with Uys, and we thought you were killed. There were Bernhard and Cobus and some halfdozen of us who wanted to turn back and look after you, but the others would not. The Zulus were closing on us again, and the hill swarmed with them, but we waited for a minute to try and persuade the others to turn back. During that minute the Zulus closed on us, and a great brawny Kaffir threw his knob-kerrie at me. I tried to dodge it, but it came so quickly I could not, and it struck me fairly on the head. Cess, I fell as if I had been shot. I did not lose my senses, but felt paralyzed


for a time. The Zulus yelled triumphantly as they saw me fall, and the assagies flew thick about us; but the few men with me were my staunch friends, and a dozen bullets answered the triumphant shouts of the Kaffirs. I think it was old Piet who lifted me on my horse, and holding the reins dragged my horse along, till I got right again, and could hold the reins. I returned the kindness before long; for as we rode through the bush a Zulu started up close to him, and would have had an assagy through him before he could have saved himself, for the Kaffir was quite round on his right side, but I was behind him a little, and just as the assagy was leaving the Kaffir's hands, I sent my bullet through him.'

'Those Zulus fought well !' exclaimed Hans. "If they ever get possessed of guns, they may give us trouble.' "Some had

guns in the last engagement, but they were not much use to them, and the horses they rode caused the death of one of the party, who being unable to manage his horse, which was running away with him into our camp, the Zulu stabbed himself with his own spear.

“The man was a fool !' exclaimed Hans; "why did he not stab the horse instead?'

"Talking over your battles !' exclaimed Hofman, an old hunter, as he entered the tent. “Ah! we have had plenty of fighting for some time to come, and we may talk about it now, for there will be peace in the land for some time. We have been fortunate in our last battles, though we ought not to have been beaten before. It all

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arose from underrating the enemy. Though we had guns, and they had none, yet when you fight in bushy country, and there are twenty to one against you, even a savage armed with an assagy is not to be despised. I fought against the Amakosa tribes when they attacked Graham's Town, and I know how these Africans can fight. You will see more fighting before you die, Hans, depend upon it.'

'I am ready to defend my own and my home,' replied Hans, “though I have no wish to shed any more human blood ; though I can say I never shot a Kaffir, unless it was to save my own life.'

• Now we shall have to try our strength against dangerous game, instead of against savages,' said Hofman, "and that will try your nerves at times. Ι know that I never found in any battle I have been in such nervous work as the first time I shot a lion, and that I did in self-defence, and when little more than a boy.'

Tell us the tale, Hofman,' said one or two of the party, who had all assembled in the tent, and were busily occupied in smoking.

It is not much of a tale,' replied the hunter, 'and Hans there, I know, has had many more narrow escapes ; but it was when I lived under the Winterberg. I had been over to our neighbours, who lived twenty-five miles from us, and I rode an old horse that was almost past work. I was to ride there and back in the day, and bring some seeds with me for the farm. Well, I had ridden there and got the seeds, and should have soon


returned, only there was somebody there I liked to stop and talk to, and so I waited rather late. It was near sundown when I started, and I had a good three hours' ride before me.

This I did not think much of, though I had to pass a place called Lions' Fountain, where lions were usually seen, and if they were not seen, their footprints always were, showing that they lived in the neighbourhood. I rode on, however, and as it got darker I rode quicker; but before long I found the old horse was knocked up, and could not go beyond a walk. I knew my father was fond of the old horse, so I determined to dismount and lead him. I did so, and walked slowly enough, for the horse would not hurry himself. Presently I found him snorting as from fear, and getting quite lively, for which I could not account at

but noting that the old horse kept turning his head as though looking at something, I strained my eyes to see what it was. I was, as I said, young at the time, and so you may not be surprised when I tell you my heart beat quickly when I saw, not a single lion, for that, I think, I inight have felt a match for, but no less than four lions trotting along about sixty yards from the side of the waggon-track I was following. I could scarcely believe my eyes at first, but the night was clear and starlight, and there was light enough for me to see that. What was most strange, too, was that one lion seemed to be afraid that the others should take his prey away from him, for every now and then he would turn on them, and with a smothered growl rush at them, sending


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