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laid an egg. Kees was sitting upon my carriage, but the moment he heard the hen's voice, he leaped down, and was running to fetch the egg. When he saw me, he suddenly stopped, and affected a careless posture, swaying himself backwards upon his hind-legs, and assuming a very innocent look. In short, he employed all his art to deceive me with respect to his design. His hypocritical maneuvres only confirmed my suspicions, and in order in my turn to deceive him, I pretended not to attend to him, and turned my back to the bush where the hen was cackling, upon which he immediately sprang to the place. I ran after him, and came up to him at the moment when he had broken the egg. Having caught the thief in the act, I gave him a good beating upon the spot; but this severe chastisement did not prevent his soon stealing fresh-laid eggs again. As I was convinced that I should never be able to break Kees of his natural vices, and that, unless I chained him up every morning, I should never get an egg, I endeavoured to accomplish my purpose in another manner. I trained one of my dogs to run to the nest as soon as the hen cackled, and bring me the egg without breaking it. In a few days the dog had learned his lesson; but Kees, as soon as he heard the hen cackle, ran with him to the nest. A contest now took place between them who should have the egg; often the dog was foiled, although he was stronger of the two. If he gained the victory, he ran joyfully to me with the egg, and put it in my hand. Kees, nevertheless, followed him, and did not cease to grumble and make threatening grimaces at him, till he saw me take the egg. If he succeeded in getting it, he would endeavour to run to a tree, where, having devoured it, he threw down the shells upon the adversary, as if to make game of him. In that case the dog returned looking ashamed, from which I could conjecture the unlucky adventure he had met with.
Kees was always first awake in the morning; and when it was the proper time he awoke the dogs, who were accustomed to his voice, and in general obeyed without hesitation the slightest motions by which he communicated his orders to them, immediately taking their post about the tent and carriage, as he directed them.
Mute, dumb. Irreparable, that cannot be re- Obscured, dimmed, darkened. paired or supplied.
Inevitably, unavoidably. Prostrate, lying flat.
Consummated, completed. Demonstration, show, exhibition.
ENCOUNTER WITH A KANGAROO (AUSTRALIA). Who, that has looked on the meek, deer-like face of a kangaroo, would imagine that any danger could attend a combat with so gentle a creature ? Yet it is well known that strong dogs are often killed by it, the kangaroo seizing and hugging the dog with its fore-paws, while with one kick of its muscular hind-leg it rips up its antagonist, and tears out its bowels. Even to man there is peril, as appears from the following narrative. After a description of the slaughter of one of his dogs, in the manner above mentioned, he thus proceeds:
"Exasperated by the irreparable loss of my poor dog, and excited by the then unusual scene before me, I hastened to revenge; nothing doubting that, with one fell swoop of my formidable club, my enemy would be prostrate at my feet. Alas! the fates, and the still more remorseless white ants, frustrated my murderous intentions, and all but left me a victim to my strange and active foe. No sooner had, the heavy blow I aimed descended on his head, than my weapon shivered into a thousand pieces, and I found myself in the giant embrace of my antagonist, who was hugging me with rather too warm a demonstration of friendship, and ripping at me in a way by no means pleasant. My only remaining dog, too, now thoroughly exhausted by wounds and loss of blood, and apparently quite satisfied of her master's superiority, remained a mute and motionless spectator of the new and singular mode of contest.
“Notwithstanding my utmost efforts to release myself from the grasp of the brute, they were unavailing; and I found my strength gradually diminishing, whilst, at the same time, my sight was obscured by the blood which now flowed freely from a deep wound, exterding from the back part of my head over the whole length of my face. I was, in fact, becoming an easy prey to the kangaroo, who continued to insert, with renewed vigor, his claws into my breast, luckily, however, protected by a loose,
coarse canvas frock, which, in colonial phrase, is called a
jumper,' and but for which I must inevitably have shared the fate of poor Trip. As it was, I had almost given myself up for lost; my head was pressed, with surpassing strength, beneath my adversary's breast, and a faintness was gradually stealing over me, when I heard a long and heart-stirring shout.
“Was I to be saved? The thought gave me new life; with increased power I grappled and succeeded in castiug from me my determined foe; and, seeing a tree close at hand, I made a desperate leap to procure its shelter and protection. I reached and clung to it for support : when the sbarp report of a rifle was heard in my ear, and the bark, about three inches above my head, was penetrated by the ball.
“Another shot followed with a more sure aim, and the exasperated animal (now once more within reach of me) rolled heavily over on its side. On the rescuers nearing, I found them to be my brother and a friend who had at first taken me for the kangaroo, and had very nearly consummated what had been so strangely begun. However, a miss is always as good as a mile; and, having recruited my spirits and strength with a draught from the never failing brandy-Hask, I mourned over poor old Trip, my companions shouldered the fallen foe, by means of a large stake, one carrying each end, while I followed with weak and tottering steps.
“You may imagine that the little beauty I ever had is not much improved by the wound on my face, which still remains, and ever will. I am now an older band at kangaroo hunting, and never venture to attack so formidable an antagonist with an ant-eaten club; my dogs, also, have grown too wary to rush heedlessly within reach of his deadly rips. We have killed many since, but rarely so fine a one as that which first tried our mettle on the plains of New Holland."
Defiance, daring or challenging to fight.
Convulsively, spasmodically (the muscles not being under the i , control of the will).
.. MY FIRST GORILLA. We started early, and pushed for the most dense and impenetrable part of the forest, in hopes of finding the very home of the beast I so much wished to shoot. Hour after hour we travelled, and yet no signs of gorilla. Only the everlasting little chattering monkeys—and not many of these—and occasionally birds. In fact, the forests of this part of Africa—as the reader has perhaps heard—are not so full of life as in some other parts to the south. Suddenly Miengai uttered a little cluck with his tongue, which is the native's way of showing that something is stirring, and that a sharp look-out is necessary. And presently I noticed, ahead of us seemingly, a noise as of some one breaking down branches or twigs of trees. ,
This was the gorilla, I at once knew by the eager and satisfied looks of the men. They looked once more carefully at their guns, to see if by any chance the powder had fallen out of the pans; I also examined mine, to make sure that all was right, and then we marched on cautiously.
The singular noise of the breaking of tree branches continued. We walked with the greatest care, making no noise at all. The countenances of the men showed that they thought themselves engaged in a very serious undertaking; but we pushed on, until finally we thought we saw, through the thick woods, the moving of the branches and small trees which the great beast was tearing down, probably to get from them the berries and fruits he lives on.
Suddenly, as we were yet creeping along in a silence which made a heavy breath seem loud and distinct, the woods were at once filled with the tremendous barking roar of the gorilla. Then the underbrush swayed rapidly just a-head, and presently before us stood an immense male gorilla. He had gone through the jungle on his all-fours; but when he saw our party he erected himself, and looked us boldly in the face. He stood about a dozen yards from us, and was a sight I think I shall never forget. Nearly six feet high (he proved four inches shorter), with immense body, huge chest, and great muscular arms, with fiercely glaring, large, deep, grey eyes, and a fiendish expression of face, which seemed to me like some nightmare vision; thus stood before us this king of the African forest.
He was not afraid of us. He stood there and beat his breast with his huge fists till it resounded like an immense bass drum, which is their mode of offering defiance ; meantime giving vent to roar after roar.
The roar of the gorilla is the most singular and awful noise heard in these African woods. It begins with a sharp bark like an angry dog; then glides into a deep bass roll, which literally and closely resembles the roll of distant thunder along the sky, for which I have sometimes been tempted to take it where I did not see the animal. So deep is it that it seems to proceed less from the mouth and throat than from the deep chest and vast paunch.
His eyes began to flash fiercer fire as we stood motionless on the defensive, and the crest of short hair which stands on his forehead began to twitch rapidly up and down, while his powerful fangs were shown as he again sent forth a thunderous roar. And now truly he reminded me of nothing but some hellish dreamcreature-a being of that hideous order, half man, half beast. which we find pictured by old artists in some representations of the infernal regions. He advanced a few steps- then stopped to utter that hideous roar again — advanced again, and finally stopped when at a distance of about six yards from us. And here, just as he began another of his roars, beating his breast in rage, we fired and killed him.
With a groan, which had something terribly human in it, and yet was full of brutishness, he fell forward on his face. The body shook convulsively for a few minutes, the limbs moved about in a struggling way, and then all was quiet,—death had done its work, and I had leisure to examine the huge body. It proved to be five feet eiglit inches high, and the muscular de. velopment of the arms and breast showed what immense strength it had possessed.