Hunting in East Africa by W. A. Chanler

1895

In the month of July, 1889, I was encamped in the Taveta forest, 250 miles from the east coast, and at the eastern foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. I was accompanied by my servant, George Galvin, an American lad seventeen years old, and had a following of 130 Zanzibaris. My battery consisted of the following weapons: one 8-bore smooth, using a cartridge loaded with 10 drams of powder and a 2-ounce spherical ball; one .577 and one .450 Express rifle, and one 12-bore Paradox. All these were made by Messrs. Holland & Holland. My servant carried an old 12-bore rifle made by Lang (intended to shoot 4-1/2 drams of powder, but whose cartridges he recklessly loaded with more than 7) and a .45-90 Winchester of the model of 1886.

Taveta forest has been often described by pens far abler than mine, so I will not attempt to do this. It is inhabited by a most friendly tribe of savages, who at the time of my visit to them possessed sufficient food to be able to supply the wants of my caravan. I therefore made it a base at which I could leave the major part of my following, and from which I could with comfort and safety venture forth on shooting trips, accompanied by only a few men.

The first of these excursions was made to the shores of Lake Jipé, six hours' march from Taveta, for the purpose of shooting hippos. I took with me my whole battery and thirteen men. This unlucky number perhaps influenced my fortunes, for I returned to Taveta empty handed and fever stricken, after a stay on the shores of the lake lasting some days. However, my experiences were interesting, if only because they were in great measure the result of ignorance. Up to this time my sporting experience had dealt only with snipe and turkey shooting in Florida, for on my road from the coast, the little game seen was too wary to give me a chance of putting a rifle to my shoulder.

The shores of Lake Jipé, where I pitched my tent, were quite flat and separated from the open water of the lake by a wide belt of swamp growth. I had brought with me, for the purpose of constructing a raft, several bundles of the stems of a large palm growing in Taveta. These were dry and as light as cork. In a few hours' time my men constructed a raft, fifteen feet in length and five feet in width. On trial, it was found capable of supporting two men, but even with this light load it sank some inches below the surface of the water. I fastened a deal box on the forward end as seat, and instructed one of the men, who said he understood boatman's work, to stand in the stern and punt the craft along with a pole. During the night my slumbers were constantly disturbed by the deep, ominous grunting of hippopotami, which, as if to show their contempt for my prowess, chose a path to their feeding grounds which led them within a few yards of my camp. The night, though starlit, was too dark for a shot, so I curbed my impatience till the morning.

As most people are aware, the day begins in the tropics as nearly as possible at 6 o'clock and lasts twelve hours. Two hours before dawn I was up and fortifying myself against the damp morning air with a good breakfast of roast chicken, rice and coffee. My men, wrapped in their thin cotton shirts, lay about the fires on the damp ground, seemingly unmindful of rheumatism and fever, and only desirous to sleep as long as possible. I awoke my crew at a little after 5, and he, unassisted, launched the raft. The swamp grass buoyed it up manfully, so that it looked as if it disdained to touch the yellow waters of the lake. When it had been pushed along till the water was found to be two feet deep, I had myself carried to the raft and seated myself on the box. I was clad only in a flannel shirt, and carried my .577 with ten rounds of ammunition. As we slowly started on our way, my men woke up one by one, and shouted cheering words to us, such as, "Look out for the crocodiles!" "If master dies, who'll pay us!" These cries, added to the dismal chill of the air and my boatman's only too apparent dislike of his job, almost caused me to turn back; but, of course, that was out of the question.

Half an hour from the shore found me on the edge of the open water, and, as if to endorse my undertaking, day began to break. That sunrise! Opposite me the rough outlines of the Ugucno Mountains, rising several thousand feet, lost their shadows one by one, and far to the right towered Mt. Kilimanjaro, nearly four miles high, its snowy rounded top roseate with the soft light of dawn. But in Africa at least one's higher sensibilities are dulled by the animal side of his nature, and I fear I welcomed the sun more for the warmth of its rays than for the beautiful and fleeting vision it produced. Then the hippos! While the sun was rising my raft was not at rest, but was being propelled by slow strong strokes toward the center of the lake, and as the darkness lessened I saw the surface of the lake dotted here and there by spots, which soon resolved themselves into the black, box-like heads of my game. They were to all appearance motionless and appeared quite unconscious or indifferent to the presence, in their particular domain, of our strange craft and its burden.

I approached them steadily, going more slowly as the water grew deeper, and more time was needed for the pulling out and dipping in of the pole. When, however, I had reached a position some 150 yards from the nearest group, five in number, they all with a loud snort faced me. I kept on, despite the ardent prayer of the boatman, and when within 100 yards, and upon seeing three of the hippos disappear beneath the surface, I took careful aim and fired at the nearest of the remaining two. I could see the splash of my bullet as it skipped harmlessly along the surface of the lake, and knew I had missed. At once all heads in sight disappeared. There must have been fifty in view when the sun rose. Presently, one by one, they reappeared, and this time, as if impelled by curiosity, came much closer than before. I took aim at one not fifty yards away, and could hear the thud of the bullet as it struck. I thought, as the hippo at once disappeared, that it was done for. I had not yet learned that the brain of these animals is very small, and that the only fatal shot is under the ear.

After this shot, as after my first, all heads vanished, but this time I had to wait much longer ere they ventured to show themselves. When they did reappear, however, it was too close for comfort. One great head, blinking its small eyes and holding its little horselike ears at attention, was not twenty feet away, and another was still closer on my other side. While hesitating at which to shoot I lost my opportunity, for they both ducked simultaneously.

I was riveted to my uncomfortable seat, and I could hear my boatman murmuring "Allah!" with fright, when slowly, but steadily, I felt the raft rise under my feet. Instinctively I remembered I had but one .577 rifle, and hastened, my hands trembling, to fasten it with a loose rope's end to the raft. My boatman yelled with terror, and at that fearful cry the raft splashed back in the water and all was again still. One of the hippos, either with his back or head, must have come in contact with the bottom of the raft as he rose to the surface. How far he would have gone had not the negro screamed I do not know, but as it was it seemed as if we were being held in mid air for many minutes. I fancy the poor brute was almost as frightened as we were, for he did not reappear near the raft.

I now thought discretion the better part of valor, and satisfied myself with shooting at the animal from a somewhat greater distance. I hit two more in the head and two—who showed a good foot of their fat bodies above the water—in the sides. None floated on the surface, legs up, as I had been led to expect they would do; but the men assured me that they never come to the surface till sundown, no matter what time of day they may have been shot. This, needless to state, I afterward found, is not true. My ammunition being exhausted, and the sun blazing hot, I returned to camp. I awoke the next day feeling anything but energetic; nevertheless, I set out to see what game the land held ready for the hunter, dissatisfied with his experiences on water. The country on the eastern side of Lake Jipé is almost flat, but is dotted here and there with low steep gneiss hills, stretching in an indefinite line parallel to the lake and some three miles distant from it. I made my way toward these hills. On the way I put up some very small antelope, which ran in such an irregular manner that they presented no mark to my unskilled arm.

We reached the hills, and I climbed one and scanned the horizon with my glasses. Far to the northwest I spied two black spots in a grassy plain. I gave the glasses to my gun-bearer and he at once said, "Rhinoceros!" I had never seen these beasts except in a menagerie, and the mention of the name brought me to my feet eager to come to a closer acquaintance with them. The wind blew toward me and the game was too far for the need of caution, so I walked rapidly in their direction. When I got to within 250 yards, I could quite easily distinguish the appearance of my quarry. They were lying down and apparently oblivious to my approach—perhaps asleep. My gun-bearer (a Swahili) now began to show an anxiety to turn back. This desire is, in many cases, the distinguishing trait of this race. On we went, but now cautiously and silently. The grass was about two feet high, so that by crawling on hands and knees, one could conceal most of his body. But this position is not a pleasant one with a blazing sun on the back, rough soil under the knees and a thirteen-pound rifle in the hand.

We got to within fifty yards. I looked back for the negro with my .577. He was lying flat on his stomach fifty yards to the rear. I stood up to beckon him, but he did not move. The rhinos did, and my attention was recalled to them by hearing loud snorts, and, turning my head, I saw the two beasts on their feet facing me. I had never shot an 8-bore in my life before, so it is not to be wondered at that the shock of the recoil placed me on my back. The animals were off before I could recover my feet, and my second barrel was not discharged. I ran after them, but the pace of a rhino is much faster than it looks, and I soon found pursuit useless. I returned to the place where they had lain, and on looking about found traces of fresh blood. My gun-bearer, as an explanation for his behavior, said that rhinos were devils, and were not to be approached closely. He said I must be possessed of miraculous power, or they would have charged and slain me. The next day, fever laid me low, and, though the attack was slight, some days elapsed before I could muster strength to take me back to Taveta.

After a few days' rest in camp—strengthened by good food and spurred to fresh exertion by the barren result of my first effort—I set out again, accompanied by more men and in a different direction.

My faith in myself received a pleasant encouragement the day before my departure. My head man came to me and said trade was at a standstill, and that the natives could not be induced to bring food to sell. On asking him why, I learned that the Taveta people had found three dead hippos in Lake Jipé and one rhino near its shores. Meat—a rare treat to them, even when not quite fresh—filled their minds and bodies, and they were proof even against the most tempting beads and the brightest cloths. I cannot say that I shared my head man's anxiety. The fact that I had not labored altogether in vain, even though others reaped the benefit of my efforts, filled me with a certain satisfaction.

A day's march from Taveta brought me to the banks of an almost stagnant brook, where I made camp. The country round about was a plain studded with low hills, here thinly thatched with short grass, and there shrouded with thick bush, above which every now and then rose a giant acacia. The morning after my arrival, I set out from camp with my 8-bore in my hands and hope in my heart. Not 200 yards from my tent, I was startled by a snort and then by the sight of two rhinos dashing across my path some fifty yards away. This time I did not succumb to my gun's recoil, but had the doubtful satisfaction of seeing, from a standing position, the animals disappear in the bush. I made after them and found, to my delight, a clear trail of fresh blood. Eagerly pressing on, I was somewhat suddenly checked in my career by almost stumbling over a rhino apparently asleep on its side, with its head toward me. Bang! went the 8-bore and down I went. I was the only creature disturbed by the shot, as the rhino had been dead some minutes—slain by my first shot; and my satisfaction was complete when I found the hole made by my bullet. My men shouted and sang over this, the first fruits of my expedition, and even at this late day I forgive myself for the feeling of pride I then experienced. I have a table at home made of a piece of this animal's hide, and supported in part by one of its horns.

The next day I made an early start and worked till 4 o'clock P. M., with no result. Then, being some eight miles from camp, I turned my face toward home. I had not gone far, and had reached the outskirts of an almost treeless savanna, when my gun-bearer brought me to a halt by the word mbogo. This I knew meant buffalo. I adjusted my glass and followed the direction of my man's finger. There, 500 yards away, I saw a solitary buffalo feeding slowly along toward two low bushes, but on the further side of them. I did not think what rifle I held (it was a .450), but dashed forward at once. My gun-bearer was more thoughtful and brought with him my .577. We actually ran. When within eighty or ninety yards of the two bushes behind which the beast was now hidden. I slackened pace and approached more cautiously. My heart was beating and my hands trembling with the exertion of running when I reached the nearest bush, and my nerves were not exactly steadied by meeting the vicious gaze of a large buffalo, who stood not thirty feet on the other side. My gun-bearer in an instant forced the .577 into my hands, and I took aim at the shoulder of the brute and fired, without knowing exactly what I was doing. The smoke cleared, and there, almost in his tracks, lay my first buffalo. His ignorance of my noisy and careless approach was apparently accounted for by his great age. His hide was almost hairless and his horns worn blunt with many encounters. He must have been quite deaf and almost blind, or his behavior cannot be accounted for. The noise made by our approach, even with the favorable wind, was sufficient to frighten any animal, or at least put it on its guard.

My men, who were dreadfully afraid of big game of all sorts, when they saw the buffalo lying dead, danced with joy and exultation. They kicked the dead body and shouted curses at it. Camp was distant a good two hours' march, and the day was drawing to a close. The hungry howl of the hyenas warned me that my prize would soon be taken from me were it left unguarded. So piles of firewood were made and the carcass surrounded by a low wall of flames. I left three men in charge and set out for camp. There was but little light and my way lay through bits of forest and much bush. Our progress was slow, and my watch read 10:30 P. M. before I reached my tent and bed.

The following day I set out for a shooting ground distant two days' march from where I had been camped. Several rivers lay in my path and two tribes of natives. These natives inhabit thick forest and are in terror of strangers, as they are continually harassed by their neighbors. When they saw the smallness of my force, however, they endeavored to turn me aside, but without success. Quiet and determination generally win with these people. The rivers gave me more trouble, as they were deep and swift of current, and my friends, the natives, had removed all bridges. But none of the streams exceeded thirty feet in width, and an hour's hard work with our axes always provided us with a bridge.

The second day from my former camp brought me to the outskirts of the forest and the beginning of open country. I had hardly made camp before three Swahili traders came to me, and after the usual greetings began to weep in chorus. Their story was a common one. They had set out from Mombasa with twelve others to trade for slaves and ivory with the natives who inhabit the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Fortune had favored them, and after four months they were on their way homeward with eighteen slaves and five good sized tusks. The first day's journey was just over when they were attacked by natives, three of their number slain and all their property stolen. In the darkness they could not distinguish what natives attacked them; but their suspicions rested on the very tribe among whom they had spent the four months, and from whom they had purchased the ivory and slaves. I gave them a little cloth and some food, and a note to my people at Taveta to help them on their way. Of course, they were slave traders, and as such ought possibly to have been beaten from my camp. But it is undoubtedly a fact that Mahomedans look on slave trading as a perfectly legitimate occupation; and if people are not breaking their own laws, I cannot see that a stranger should treat them as brigands and refuse them the least aid when in distress. I know that my point of view in this matter has few supporters in civilization.

The next day, after a short march, I pitched my tent on the banks of a small stream, and then set out to prospect for game. I found nothing, but that night my slumbers were disturbed by the splashing and grunting of a herd of buffalo drinking.

These sounds kept me awake, so that I was enabled to make a very early start—setting out with four men at 4:45. The natives had assured me that the buffalo came to drink about midnight, and then fed slowly back to their favorite sleeping-places in the thick bush, reaching there just about sunrise. By making such an early start I hoped to come up with my quarry in the open places on the edge of the thick bush just before dawn, when the light is sufficiently bright to enable one to see the foresight of a rifle. Dew falls like rain in this part of the world, and we had not gone fifty paces in the long grass before we were soaking wet, and dismally cold to boot. My guide, cheered by the prospect of a good present, led us confidently along the most intricate paths and through the thickest bush. The moon overhead, which was in its fifteenth day, gave excellent light. Every now and then some creature would dash across our path, or stand snorting fearfully till we had passed. These were probably waterbuck and bushbuck. Toward half past five the light of the moon paled before the first glow of dawn, and we found ourselves on the outskirts of a treeless prairie, dotted here and there with bushes and covered with short dry grass. Across this plain lay the bush where my guide assured me the buffalo slept during the day, and according to him at that moment somewhere between me and this bush wandered at least 100 buffalo. There was little wind, and what there was came in gentle puffs against our right cheeks. I made a sharp detour to the left, walking quickly for some twenty minutes. Then, believing ourselves to be below the line of the buffalo, and therefore free to advance in their direction, we did so.

Just as the sun rose we had traversed the plain and stood at the edge of what my men called the nyumba ya mbogo (the buffalo's home). We were too late. Fresh signs everywhere showed that my guide had spoken the truth. Now I questioned him as to the bush; how thick it was, etc. At that my men fidgeted uneasily and murmured "Mr. Dawnay." This young Englishman had been killed by buffalo in the bush but four months before. However, two of my men volunteered to follow me, so I set out on the track of the herd.

This bush in which the buffalo live is not more than ten feet high, is composed of a network of branches and is covered with shiny green leaves; it has no thorns. Here and there one will meet with a stunted acacia, which, as if to show its spite against its more attractive neighbors, is clothed with nothing but the sharpest thorns. The buffalo, from constant wandering among the bush, have formed a perfect maze of paths. These trails are wide enough under foot, but meet just over one's shoulders, so that it is impossible to maintain an upright position. The paths run in all directions, and therefore one cannot see far ahead. Were it not for the fact that here and there—often 200 feet apart, however—are small open patches, it would be almost useless to enter such a fastness. These open places lure one on, as from their edges it is often possible to get a good shot. Once started, we took up the path which showed the most and freshest spoor, and, stooping low, pressed on as swiftly and noiselessly as possible. We had not gone far before we came upon a small opening, from the center of which rose an acacia not more than eight inches in thickness of trunk and perhaps eighteen feet high. It was forked at the height of a man's shoulder. I carried the 8-bore, and was glad of an opportunity to rest it in the convenient fork before me. I had just done so, when crash! snort! bellow! came several animals (presumably buffalo) in our direction. One gun-bearer literally flew up the tree against which I rested my rifle; the other, regardless of consequences, hurled his naked skin against another but smaller tree, also thorny; both dropped their rifles. I stood sheltered behind eight inches of acacia wood, with my rifle pointed in front of me and still resting in the fork of the tree. The noise of the herd approached nearer and nearer, and my nerves did not assume that steelly quality I had imagined always resulted from a sudden danger. Fly I could not, and the only tree climbable was already occupied; so I stood still.

Just as I looked for the appearance of the beasts in the little opening in which I stood, the crashing noise separated in two portions—each passing under cover on either side of the opening. I could see nothing, but my ears were filled with the noise. The uproar ceased, and I asked the negro in the tree what had happened. He said, when he first climbed the tree he could see the bushes in our front move like the waves of the sea, and then, Ham del illah—praise be to God—the buffalo turned on either side and left our little opening safe. Had they not turned, but charged straight at us, I fancy I should have had a disagreeable moment. As it was, I began to understand why buffalo shooting in the bush has been always considered unsafe, and began to regret that the road back to the open plain was not a shorter one. We reached it in safety, however, and, after a short rest, set out up wind.

I got a hartbeest and an mpallah before noon, and then, satisfied with my day, returned to camp. By 4 P. M. my men had brought in all the meat, and soon the little camp was filled with strips of fresh meat hanging on ropes of twisted bark. The next day we exchanged the meat for flour, beans, pumpkins and Indian corn. I remained in this camp three more days and then returned to Taveta. Each one of these days I attempted to get a shot at buffalo, but never managed it. On one occasion I caught a glimpse of two of these animals in the open, but they were too wary to allow me to approach them.

When I reached Taveta, I found a capital camp had been built during my absence, and that a food supply had been laid in sufficient for several weeks. Shortly after my arrival I was startled by the reports of many rifles, and soon was delighted to grasp the hands of two compatriots—Dr. Abbott and Mr. Stevens. They had just returned from a shooting journey in Masai land, and reported game plenty and natives not troublesome. My intention was then formed to circumnavigate Mt. Kilimanjaro, pass over the yet untried shooting grounds and then to return to the coast.

I left five men in camp at Taveta in charge of most of my goods, and, taking 118 men with me, set out into Masai land. Even at this late date (1895) the Masai are reckoned dangerous customers. Up to 1889 but five European caravans had entered their territory, and all but the last—that of Dr. Abbott—had reported difficulties with the natives. My head man, a capital fellow, had had no experience with these people, and did not look forward with pleasure to making their acquaintance; but he received orders to prepare for a start with apparent cheerfulness. We carried with us one ton of beans and dried bananas as food supply. This was sufficient for a few weeks, but laid me under the necessity of doing some successful shooting, should I carry out my plan of campaign. Just on the borders of Masai land live the Useri people, who inhabit the northeast slopes of Kilimanjaro. We stopped a day or two with them to increase our food supply, and while the trading was going on I descended to the plain in search of sport.

I left camp at dawn and it was not till noon that I saw game. Then I discovered three rhinos; two together lying down, and one solitary, nearly 500 yards away from the others. The two lying down were nearest me, but were apparently unapproachable, owing to absolute lack of cover. The little plain they had chosen for their nap was as flat as a billiard table and quite bare of grass. The wind blew steadily from them and whispered me to try my luck, so I crawled cautiously toward them. When I got to within 150 yards, one of the beasts rose and sniffed anxiously about and then lay down again. The rhinoceros is nearly blind when in the bright sun—at night it can see like an owl. I kept on, and when within 100 yards rose to my knees and fired one barrel of my .577. The rhinos leapt to their feet and charged straight at me. "Shall I load the other barrel or trust to only one?" This thought ran through my mind, but the speed of the animals' approach gave me no time to reply to it. My gun-bearer was making excellent time across the plain toward a group of trees, so I could make no use of the 8-bore. The beasts came on side by side, increasing their speed and snorting like steam engines as they ran. They were disagreeably close when I fired my second barrel and rose to my feet to bolt to one side. As I rose they swerved to the left and passed not twenty feet from me, apparently blind to my whereabouts. I must have hit one with my second shot, for they were too close to permit a miss. Perhaps that shot turned them. Be that as it may, I felt that I had had a narrow escape.

When these rhinos had quite disappeared, my faithful gun-bearer returned, and smilingly congratulated me on what he considered my good fortune. He then called my attention to the fact that rhinoceros number three was still in sight, and apparently undisturbed by what had happened to his friends. Between the beast and me, stretched an open plain for some 350 yards, then came three or four small trees, and then from these trees rose a semi-circular hill or rather ridge, on the crest of which stood the rhino. I made for the trees, and, distrusting my gun-bearer, took from him the .577 and placed it near one of them. Then, telling him to retire to a comfortable spot, I advanced with my 8-bore up the hill toward my game. The soil was soft as powder, so my footsteps made no noise. Cover, with the exception of a small skeleton bush, but fifty yards below the rhino, there was none. I reached the bush and knelt down behind it. The rhino was standing broadside on, motionless and apparently asleep. I rose and fired, and saw that I had aimed true, when the animal wheeled round and round in his track. I fired again, and he then stood still, facing me. I had one cartridge in my pocket and slipped it in the gun. As I raised the weapon to my shoulder, down the hill came my enemy. His pace was slow and I could see that he limped. The impetus given him by the descent kept him going, and his speed seemed to increase. I fired straight at him and then dropped behind the bush. He still came on and in my direction; so I leapt to my feet, and, losing my head, ran straight away in front of him. I should have run to one side and then up the hill. What was my horror, when pounding away at a good gait, not more than fifty feet in front of the snorting rhino, to find myself hurled to the ground, having twisted my ankle. I thought all was over, when I had the instinct to roll to one side and then scramble to my feet. The beast passed on. When he reached the bottom of the hill his pace slackened to a walk, and I returned to where I had left my .577 and killed him at my leisure. I found the 8-bore bullet had shattered his off hind leg, and that my second shot had penetrated his lungs. I had left the few men I had brought with me on a neighboring hill when I had first caught sight of the rhinos, and now sent for them. Not liking to waste the meat, I sent to camp for twenty porters to carry it back. I reached camp that night at 12:30 A. M., feeling quite worn out.

After a day's rest we marched to Tok-i-Tok, the frontier of Masai land. This place is at certain seasons of the year the pasture ground of one of the worst bands of Masai. I found it nearly deserted. The Masai I met said their brethren were all gone on a war raid, and that this was the only reason why I was permitted to enter the country. I told them that I had come for the purpose of sport, and hoped to kill much game in their country. This, however, did not appear to interest them, as the Masai never eat the flesh of game. Nor do they hunt any, with the exception of buffalo, whose hide they use for shields. I told them I was their friend and hoped for peace; but, on the other hand, was prepared for war should they attack me.

From Tok-i-Tok we marched in a leisurely manner to a place whose name means in English "guinea fowl camp." In this case it was a misnomer, for we were not so fortunate as to see one of these birds during our stay of several days. At this place we were visited by some fifty Masai warriors, who on the receipt of a small present danced and went away. The water at guinea fowl camp consisted of a spring which rises from the sandy soil and flows a few hundred yards, and then disappears into the earth. This is the only drinking-place for several miles, so it is frequented by large numbers and many varieties of game. At one time I have seen hartbeest, wildbeest, grantii, mpallah, Thomson's oryx, giraffes and rhinoceros. We supported the caravan on meat. I used only the .450 Express; but my servant, George Galvin, who used the Winchester, did better execution with his weapon than I with mine.

Here, for the first and last time in my African experiences, we had a drive. Our camp was pitched on a low escarpment, at the bottom of which, and some 300 feet away, lay the water. The escarpment ran east and west, and extended beyond the camp some 500 yards, where it ended abruptly in a cliff forty or fifty feet high. Some of my men, who were at the end of the escarpment gathering wood, came running into camp and said that great numbers of game were coming toward the water. I took my servant and we ran to the end of the escarpment, where a sight thrilling indeed to the sportsman met our eyes. First came two or three hundred wildbeest in a solid mass; then four or five smaller herds, numbering perhaps forty each, of hartbeest; then two herds, one of mpallah and one of grantii. There must have been 500 head in the lot. They were approaching in a slow, hesitating manner, as these antelope always do approach water, especially when going down wind.

Our cover was perfect and the wind blowing steadily in our direction. I decided, knowing that they were making for the water, and to reach it must pass close under where we lay concealed, to allow a certain number of them to pass before we opened fire. This plan worked perfectly. The animals in front slackened pace when they came to within fifty yards of us, and those behind pressed on and mingled with those in front. The effect to the eye was charming. The bright tan-colored skins of the hartbeest shone out in pleasing contrast to the dark gray wildbeest. Had I not been so young, and filled with youth's thirst for blood, I should have been a harmless spectator of this beautiful procession. But this was not to be. On catching sight of the water, the animals quickened their pace, and in a moment nearly half of the mass had passed our hiding-place. A silent signal, and the .450 and the Winchester, fired in quick succession, changed this peaceful scene into one of consternation and slaughter. Startled out of their senses, the beasts at first halted in their tracks, and then wheeling, as if at word of command, they dashed rapidly up wind—those in the rear receiving a second volley as they galloped by. When the dust cleared away, we saw lying on the ground below us four animals—two hartbeest and two wildbeest. I am afraid that many of those who escaped carried away with them proofs of their temerity and our bad marksmanship.

Ngiri, our next camp, is a large swamp, surrounded first by masses of tall cane and then by a beautiful though narrow strip of forest composed of tall acacias. It was at this place, in the thick bush which stretches from the swamp almost to the base of Kilimanjaro, that the Hon. Guy Dawnay, an English sportsman, had met his death by the horns of a buffalo but four months before. My tent was pitched within twenty paces of his grave and just under a large acacia, which serves as his monument, upon whose bark is cut in deep characters the name of the victim and the date of his mishap.

Here we made a strong zariba of thorns, as we had heard we should meet a large force of Masai in this neighborhood. I stopped ten days at Ngiri, and, with the exception of one adventure hardly worth relating, had no difficulty with the Masai. Undoubtedly I was very fortunate in finding the large majority of the Masai warriors, inhabiting the country through which I passed, absent from their homes. But at the same time I venture to think that the ferocity of these people has been much overrated, especially in regard to Europeans; for the force at my disposal was not numerous enough to overawe them had they been evilly disposed.

One morning, after I had been some days at Ngiri, I set out with twenty men to procure meat for the camp. The sun had not yet risen, and I was pursuing my way close to the belt of reeds which surrounds the swamp, when I saw in the dim light a black object standing close to the reeds. My men said it was a hippo, but as I drew nearer I could distinguish the outlines of a gigantic buffalo, broadside on and facing from the swamp. When I got to within what I afterwards found by pacing it off to be 103 paces, I raised my .577 to my shoulder, and, taking careful aim at the brute's shoulder, fired. When the smoke cleared away there was nothing in sight. Knowing the danger of approaching these animals when wounded, I waited until the sun rose, and then cautiously approached the spot. The early rays of the sun witnessed the last breathings of one of the biggest buffaloes ever shot in Africa. Its head is now in the Smithsonian Institute at Washington, and, according to the measurement made by Mr. Rowland Ward, Piccadilly, London, it ranks among the first five heads ever set up by him.

After sending the head, skin and meat back to camp, I continued my way along the shore of the swamp. The day had begun well and I hardly hoped for any further sport, but I was pleasantly disappointed.

Toward 11 o'clock I entered a tall acacia forest, and had not proceeded far in it before my steps were arrested by the sight of three elephants, lying down not 100 yards from me. They got our wind at once, and were up and off before I could get a shot. I left all my men but one gun-bearer on the outskirts of the forest and followed upon the trail of the elephant. I had not gone fifteen minutes before I had traversed the forest, and entered the thick and almost impenetrable bush beyond it. And hardly had I forced my way a few paces into this bush, when a sight met my eyes which made me stop and think. Sixty yards away, his head towering above the surrounding bush, stood a monstrous tusker. His trunk was curled over his back in the act of sprinkling dust over his shoulders. His tusks gleamed white and beautiful. He lowered his head, and I could but just see the outline of his skull and the tips of his ears. This time my gun-bearer did not run. The sight of the ivory stirred in him a feeling, which, in a Swahili, often conquers fear—cupidity. I raised some dust in my hand and threw it in the air, to see which way the wind blew. It was favorable. Then beckoning my gun-bearer, I moved forward at a slight angle, so as to come opposite the brute's shoulder. I had gone but a few steps when the bush opened and I got a good sight of his head and shoulder. He was apparently unconscious of our presence and was lazily flapping his ears against his sides. Each time he did this, a cloud of dust arose, and a sound like the tap of a bass drum broke the stillness. I fired my .577 at the outer edge of his ear while it was lying for an instant against his side. A crash of bush, then silence, and no elephant in sight. I began to think that I had been successful, but the sharper senses of the negro enabled him to know the contrary. His teeth chattered, and for a moment he was motionless with terror. Then he pointed silently to his left. I stooped and looked under the bush. Not twenty feet away was a sight which made me share the feelings of my gun-bearer. The elephant was the picture of rage; his forelegs stretched out in front of him, his trunk curled high in the air, and his ears lying back along his neck. I seized my 8-bore and took aim at his foreward knee, but before I could fire, he was at us. I jumped to one side and gave him a two-ounce ball in the shoulder, which apparently decided him on retreat. The bush was so thick that in a moment he was out of sight. I followed him for some time, but saw no more of him. His trail mingled with that of a large herd, which, after remaining together for some time, apparently separated in several directions. The day was blazing hot, and I was in the midst of a pathless bush, far away from my twenty men.

By 2 P. M., I had come up with them again and turned my face toward camp. On the way thither, I killed two zebras, a waterbuck and a Thomsonii. By the time the meat was cut up and packed on my men's heads the sun had set. The moon was magnificently bright and served to light our road. For one mile our way led across a perfectly level plain. This plain was covered with a kind of salt as white as snow, and with the bright moon every object was as easily distinguished as by day. The fresh meat proved an awkward load for my men, and we frequently were forced to stop while one or the other re-arranged the mass he carried. They were very cheery about it, however, and kept shouting to one another how much they would enjoy the morrow's feast. Their shouts were answered by the mocking wails of many hyenas, who hovered on our flanks and rear like a pursuing enemy. I shot two of these beasts, which kept their friends busy for a while, and enabled us to pursue our way in peace.

This white plain reaches nearly to the shores of Ngiri Swamp on the north, and to the east it is bounded by a wall of densely thick bush. We had approached to within 400 yards of the point where the line of bush joins the swamp, when I noticed a small herd of wildbeest walking slowly toward us, coming from the edge of the swamp. A few moments later, a cry escaped from my gun-bearer, who grasped my arm and whispered eagerly, simba. This means lion. He pointed to the wall of bush, and near it, crawling on its belly toward the wildbeest, was the form of a lion. I knelt down and raised the night sight of my .450, and fired at the moving form. The white soil and the bright moon actually enabled me to distinguish the yellow color of its skin. A loud growl answered the report of my rifle, and I could see the white salt of the plain fly as the lion ran round and round in a circle, like a kitten after its tail. I fired my second barrel and the lion disappeared. The wildbeest had made off at the first shot. I tried, in the eagerness of youth, to follow the lion in the bush; but soon common sense came to my rescue, and warned me that in this dark growth the chances were decidedly in favor of the lion's getting me, and so gave up the chase. Now, if I had only waited till the great cat had got one of the wildbeest, I feel pretty sure I should have been able to dispose of it at my leisure. When I returned to camp, I ungratefully lost sight of the good luck I had had, and gnashed my teeth at the thought that I had missed bringing home a lion and an elephant. I was not destined to see a lion again on this journey, but my annoyance at my ill fortune was often whetted by hearing them roar.

However, by good luck and by George's help, I succeeded in securing one elephant. The story of how this happened shall be the last hunting adventure recorded in this article. We had left Ngiri and were camped at the next water, some ten miles to the west. I had been out after giraffes and had not been unsuccessful, and therefore had reached camp in high good humor, when George came to me and said things were going badly in camp—that the men had decided to desert me should I try to push further on into the country; and that both head men seemed to think further progress was useless with the men in such temper. I was puzzled what to do, but wasted no time about making up my mind to do something. I went into the tent and called the two head men to me. After a little delay, they came, greeted me solemnly and at a motion from me crouched on their hams. There is but little use in allowing a negro to state a grievance, particularly if you know it is an imaginary one. The mere act of putting their fancied wrongs into words magnifies them in their own minds, and renders them less likely to listen to reason. My knowledge of Swahili at this time did not permit me to address them in their own language, so I spoke to them in English, knowing that they understood at least a few words of that tongue. I told them that I was determined to push on; that I knew that porters were like sheep and were perfectly under the control of the head men; consequently, should anything happen, I would know on whom to fix the blame. I repeated this several times, and emphasized it with dreadful threats, then motioned for them to leave the tent. I cannot say that I passed a comfortable night. Instead of songs and laughter, an ominous stillness reigned in the camp, and, though my words had been brave, I knew that I was entirely at the mercy of the men.

Before dawn we were under way, keeping a strict watch for any signs of mutiny. But, though the men were sullen, they showed no signs of turning back. Our road lay over a wide plain, everywhere covered thickly with lava, the aspect of which was arid in the extreme.

No more green buffalo bush, no more acacias, tall and beautiful, but in their place rose columns of dust, whirled hither and thither by the vagrant wind. Two of my men had been over this part of the road before, but they professed to be ignorant of the whereabouts of the next water place. Any hesitation on my part would have been the signal for a general retreat, so there was nothing for it but to assume a look of the utmost indifference, and to assure them calmly that we should find water. At noon the appearance of the country had not changed. My men, who had incautiously neglected to fill their water bottles in the morning, were beginning to show signs of distress.

Suddenly my gun-bearer, pointing to the left, showed me two herds of elephants approaching us. The larger herd, composed principally of bulls, was nearer to us, and probably got our wind; for they at once turned sharply to their right and increased their pace. The other herd moved on undisturbed. I halted the caravan, told the men to sit down and went forward to meet the elephants, with my servant and two gun-bearers. I carried a .577, my servant carried the old 12-bore by Lang, his cartridges crammed to the muzzle with powder. We were careful to avoid giving the elephants our wind, so we advanced parallel to them, but in a direction opposite to that in which they were going. As they passed us we crouched, and they seemed unconscious of our presence. They went about 400 yards past us, and then halted at right angles to the route they had been pursuing. There were five elephants in this herd—four large, and one small one, bringing up the rear. Some 60 yards on their right flank was a small skeleton bush, and, making a slight detour, we directed our course toward that. The leading animal was the largest, so I decided to devote our attention to that one. I told George to fire at the leg and I would try for the heart. We fired simultaneously, George missing and my shot taking effect altogether too high.

Two things resulted from the discharge of our rifles: the gun-bearers bolted with their weapons and the elephants charged toward us in line of battle. As far as I can calculate, an elephant at full speed moves 100 yards in about ten seconds, so my readers can judge how much time elapsed before the elephants were upon us. We fired again. My shot did no execution, but George, who had remained in a kneeling position, broke the off foreleg of the leading animal at the knee. It fell, and the others at once stopped. We then made off, and watched from a little distance a most interesting sight.

The condition of the wounded elephant seemed to be known to the others, for they crowded about her and apparently offered her assistance. She placed her trunk on the back of one standing in front of her and raised herself to her feet, assisted by those standing around. They actually moved her for some distance, but soon got tired of their kindly efforts. We fired several shots at them, which only had the effect of making two of the band charge in our direction and then return to their stricken comrade. Cover there was none, and with our bad marksmanship it would have been (to say the least) brutal to blaze away at the gallant little herd. Besides, cries of "water!" "water!" were heard coming from my thirsty caravan. So there was nothing for it but to leave the elephant, take the people to water, if we could find it, and then return and put the wounded animal out of its misery.

An hour and a half later we reached water, beautiful and clear, welling up from the side of a small hill. This is called Masimani. On reaching the water, all signs of discontent among my people vanished, and those among them who were not Mahomedans, and therefore had no scruples about eating elephant meat, raised a cheerful cry of tembo tamu—elephant is sweet. I did not need a second hint, but returned, and, finding the poor elephant deserted by its companions, put it out of its misery. It was a cow with a fine pair of tusks. The sun was setting, and my men, knowing that activity was the only means of saving their beloved elephant meat from hyenas, attacked the body with fury—some with axes, others with knives and one or two with sword bayonets. It was a terrible sight, and I was glad to leave them at it and return to camp, well satisfied with my day's work.

From Masimani, for the next four days, the road had never been trodden by even an Arab caravan. I had no idea of the whereabouts of water, nor had my men; but, having made a success of the first day's march, the men followed me cheerfully, believing me possessed of magic power and certain to lead them over a well-watered path. A kind providence did actually bring us to water each night. The country was so dry that it was absolutely deserted by the inhabitants, the Masai, and great was the surprise of the Kibonoto people when we reached there on the fourth day. They thought that we had dropped from the clouds, and said there could not have been any water over the road we had just come. These Kibonoto people had never been visited by an European, but received us kindly. The people of Kibonoto are the westernmost inhabitants on the slopes of Kilimanjaro.

From there to Taveta our road was an easy one, lying through friendly peoples. After a brief rest at Taveta, I returned to the coast, reaching Zanzibar a little over six months after I had set out from it.

Perhaps a word about the climate of the part of the country through which I passed will not be amiss. Both my servant and myself suffered from fever, but not to any serious extent. If a sedentary life is avoided—and this is an easy matter while on a journey—if one avoids morning dews and evening damps, and protects his head and the back of his neck from the sun, I do not think the climate of East Africa would be hurtful to any ordinarily healthy person. For my part, I do not think either my servant or myself have suffered any permanent ill effects from our venture; and yet the ages of twenty-one and seventeen are not those best suited for travels in the tropics.