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He spoke to them in Dutch, then in English, but they seemed to understand neither language; so he said a few words in Zulu, which were equally unintelligible. The men spoke rapidly amongst themselves, and Hans could not understand what they said, and was at a loss to comprehend from whence these hunters—for such they seemed to be—had come. After several attempts at communication, the chief shook his head, and pointing to the west, then at Hans, seemed thus to signal that it was from the west that Hans had come. Hans, who was accustomed to aid his imperfect knowledge of language by signs, immediately nodded his assent to this pantomime, and pointing to the men around, then to the east, thus inquired whether these hunters came from the east. The chief nodded to this, and thus explained to Hans that he must have come from the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay, and was probably a cross between some natives there and the Portuguese.
Whilst this communication was going on between Hans and the chief, some of the men had pulled the teeth from under the elephant, and had cut off the flesh that hung to them. They then lifted up the teeth, and seemed preparing to carry them away. To this appropriation of his property Hans objected, and made signs to the chief that the men should place the tusks on the ground. The chief uttered a few words to the men, who immediately dropped the tusks, and stood waiting for further directions. The chief now came close to Hans, and commenced making signs, which, however, Hans made Prisoner.
seemed to Hans unintelligible. He was, however, endeavouring to discover what these signals meant, when his arms were grasped from behind, his gun taken from him, and in the struggle which ensued he was thrown violently to the ground, and there held by three of the men of the party. Though strong enough to have mastered any one of the strange men singly, still Hans was no match for three of them; and thus he ceased to struggle on finding himself disarmed, and surrounded by such a force. Immediately he was thus quiet, some leather straps were produced, and his hands were firmly tied behind him. His legs were then tied by a powerful strap, so that he could walk by taking an average length pace; but if he attempted to go beyond this, he could not do so: thus running was out of the question.
Whilst this sudden attack, and being thus bound as a prisoner, made Hans very angry, yet he knew that it was no use showing this anger; he therefore submitted quietly, and began to hope that as there seemed no intention of murdering him, he might be merely kept a prisoner for some time, and then released.
* Perhaps they will steal my horse, gun, and ivory, and leave me here unable to follow them,' thought Hans. ? If so, I shall have a long journey on foot to reach my people. This idea, however, was soon relinquished, when Hans saw the chief mount his horse, take his gun, and whilst others of the party carried the tusks, three men, who seemed detailed especially to him, signalled to him to walk on before them, and after their chief. Pulling long knives from out of their belts, they signed to him that these would be used if he did not willingly comply, and thus threatened he followed, as best he could with bound hands and encumbered legs, the leaders of the party.
Hans could tell that the direction in which he walked was nearly east, and therefore away from where his people would be expecting him. None of the Dutchmen would be likely, therefore, to come across him or to find him, so that a rescue was out of the question. The only chance seemed to be that Victor and Bernhard might come in search of him, and might trace him up ; but then two men against twelve men armed with muskets might result only in the death of his two friends.
Hans carried away–His Fellow-prisoners-Slavery– Thoughts of Escape-Carried off to Sea—The Voyage-Pursued – The Chase - The Night Battle—The Repulse—The Capture.
ITH no hesitation as to the direction in which
they were to travel, the party who had so
unceremoniously captured Hans marched on till near sunset. It was evident they knew the country well, and had decided in which direction they were to proceed. They talked freely amongst each other, and Hans was often apparently the subject of their conversation, but he could not comprehend a word of their language. It was no compound of either Dutch, English, or Kaffir, and he therefore concluded it must be Portuguese.
Hans could not understand why he should be taken prisoner. He had not, he believed, committed any crime, and was merely hunting in a free country; but having failed to think of any likely reason, he did not further trouble himself about the matter.
When the sun was so near the horizon that the shadow of the trees made the forest through which they walked nearly dark, the party halted. Some wood was quickly gathered, a fire was lighted, and some elephant's flesh was broiled; Hans was given his share of the food, and also supplied with water. He was carefully tied to one of the men of the party, whose duty it was to watch him, and thus all chance of escape was prevented. The party then set one man to act as sentry, and, forming a ring round Hans, laid themselves down to sleep. Bound as he was, Hans could not for a long time sleep ; but at length, long exposure to danger having rendered him very much of a philosopher, he slept as soundly as the remainder of the party.
The sun had scarcely risen on the following morning before Hans and his capturers, having breakfasted, again travelled on to the eastward. The march was continued till mid-day, when a halt was made, and one or two shots were fired, apparently as signals. After a short interval these shots were replied to by other shots, and soon after a second party of very similar-looking men appeared from the south, and brought with them three Zulus, bound in the same manner as Hans. An immense number of questions and answers passed between the two parties of men, those who last arrived evidently describing to their friends some adventure which had happened to them, and which from the action Hans supposed to be a fight of some kind, probably with a hunting-party of Zulus, some of the members of which were taken prisoners.