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as all his companions were tall heavy men.
A fire was brightly blazing, and several small tin vessels on this fire were steaming as their contents hissed and bubbled. The white men who composed this party were Dutch South African Boers, who were making an excursion into the favourite feeding-grounds of the Elephant, in order to supply themselves with ivory, this valuable commodity being to them a source of considerable wealth.
“It will soon be very dark,' exclaimed Bernhard, one of the Boers, 'and Hans will have difficulty in finding our läger ; I will go on to the headland and shoot.' • You may
leave Sterk to take care of himself,' said Heinrich, another Boer, ‘for no man is less likely to lose himself than he is.'
'I will go and shoot at all events,' said Bernhard, 'for it can do no harm; and though Hans is quick and keen, watchful and careful, he may for once be overtaken by a fog or the darkness, and he does not well know this country'
With this excuse for his proceeding, the man called Bernhard grasped his large-bored gun, and ascended a krantz which overhung the resting-place of his party, when, having reached the summit, he placed the muzzle of his gun within a foot of the ground, and fired both barrels in quick succession. This is a common signal amongst African hunters, it being understood to mean, that the resting-place at night is where the double shot is fired from.
There being no reply to this double shot, Bernhard
returned to his companions, and the whole party then commenced their evening meal.
“So your sweetheart did not reply to you, Bernhard,' said one of the Boers, though you did speak so loudly.
*Hans Sterk is my sworn friend, good and true,' replied Bernhard ; 'and no man speaks lightly of him before me.'
'Quite right, Bernhard, stand to your friends, and they will stand to you; and Hans is a good friend to all, and few of us have not been indebted to him for some good turn or other ; but what is Tembili the Kaffir doing ?'
At this remark, all eyes were directed towards one of the Kaffir men, who had risen to his feet, and stood grasping his musket and looking eagerly into the forest near, whilst his dark companion was gazing fixedly in the same direction. It was a fine sight to observe this bronzed son of the desert at home and on the watch, for he did seem at home amidst the scenes around him. After a minute's intent watching, he raised his hand, and in a low whisper said, 'Leuew, Tao' (the Dutch and Matabili names for a lion). 'Leuew!' exclaimed each Boer, as he seized his weapons, which were close at hand and stood ready for an emergency.
‘Make up the fire, Piet,' said Heinrich: 'let us illuminate the visitor.' And a mass of dried grass and sticks thrown on the fire caused a brilliant flame, which lighted up the branches and creepers of the ancient forest. As the flame rose and the sticks crackled, a low grumbling growl came from the underwood in the forest, which at once indicated to the hunters that the Kaffir's instincts had not misled him, but that a lion was crouching in the bush near.
'Fire a shot, Karl,' said one of the Dutchmen ; 'drive him away with fear; we must not let him remain near us.' And Karl, aiming among the brushwood, fired. Amidst the noise and echoes of the Boer's musket, a loud savage roar was audible, as the lion, thus disturbed, moved sullenly away from what he had expected would have . been a feast; whilst the hunters, hearing him retreat, proceeded without any alarm with their meal, the Kaffirs alone of the party occasionally stopping in their eating to listen, and to watch the neighbouring bush.
The sun had set about three hours, and the moon, a few days past the full, had risen ; whilst the Boers, having finished their meal, were rolled up in their sheepskin carosses, and sleeping on the ground as calmly as though they were each in a comfortable bed. The Kaffirs, however, were still quietly but steadily eating, and conversing in a low tone, scarcely above a whisper.
• The lion will not leave us during the night,' said the Kaffir called Tembili, 'I will not sleep unless you watch, 'Nquane.'
“Yes, I will watch whilst you sleep, then you sleep whilst I watch,' replied the Kaffir addressed as 'Nquane. We shall shoot elephants to-morrow, I think; and the young chief must be now close to them, that is why he does not return.'
The Lion Discovered.
No: he would return to tell us if he could, I fear' he must have lost himself,' replied Tembili.
"The “strong” lose himself,' exclaimed 'Nquane, ‘no, as soon the vulture lose his way in the air, or the springbok on the plains, or the elephant in the forest, as the strong lose himself any where. He sees without
and hears without ears. Hark! is that the lion ?'
Both Kaffirs listened attentively for some minutes, when 'Nquane said, “It is the lion moving up the krantz: he smells something or hears something ; he must have tasted man's flesh, to have stopped here so long close to us. What can he hear now? Ah, there is something up high in the bushes, a buck perhaps, the lion will soon feast on it, and that will be the better for us, as when his belly is full he will not want to eat you or me.'
Attentively as the Kaffirs watched the bushes, and listened for some sound indicative of the lion's position, they yet could hear nothing ; so quietly did the creature move, they had almost given up their attention to eating, when a sudden flash of light burst from the bushes on the top of the kloof, followed by a thundering roar which was succeeded by a silence, broken only at intervals by the distant echoes of the report of the gun, which at first had scarcely been audible in the midst of the lion's roar, for such it proved to be.
As these sounds burst over the camp, each hunter started from his slumber, and stood waiting for some fresh indication of danger, or cause for action ; for half a minute no man spoke, but then Bernhard exclaimed,
“That must have been Hans, he must have met the lion in the dark ;' and, ‘Oh, Hans ! Hans !' he shouted:
'Here so,' replied a voice from the summit of the kloof; is that Bernhard ?'
“Yes, Hans : are you hurt?'
“No, but the lion is: he is dying in a bush not far off. I don't like to move, as I can't see him : could you bring some lighted branches here?'
’Nquane, the Kaffir, and Bernhard each seized a large blazing branch, and grasping their guns, ascended the steep slope to the position occupied by Hans.
'Up this way,' said Hans, the lion is to your right, and I think dead; but we had better not go near him till we are certain. Now give me a branch, I can light this grass, and go look for him.' Saying this, Hans advanced to some bushes and cast a handful of blazing grass before him. *He's dead,' exclaimed Hans, ‘so come, and we will skin him : he's a fine fellow !'
•Come down to the camp and eat first, Hans,' urged Bernhard, and tell us where you have been, then come and skin the lion.'
No, business first,' exclaimed Hans. “The jackalls might spoil the skin in a few minutes, and before the lion was cold ; so we will first free him of his coat, then I will eat.'
It took Hans and his two companions only a short time to divest the lion of its skin, when the three returned to .camp, where the new-comer was heartily welcomed, and where he was soon fully occupied in