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there?" Again came the grunts of acquiescence.
Now, a buffalo, as a rule, does not cover much ground in a day, as he wanders about in a very leisurely way, frequently resting, and about ten o'clock he looks for thick cover to lie up in till the sun is well on the decline. The hunter therefore still hoped he might find him taking his siesta, or wallowing in a mud pool afterwards, and the little party returned as fast as they could to where they had last crossed the river.
Opposite where Njati had entered there was only one practicable landing-place, and the only tracks here were those they had followed before, and which they discovered, on inspecting the place more carefully, were of the same age as those where he had descended for his drink.
Where had he gone now? He had certainly entered the river opposite, but had not landed here; and all the rest of the banks, above and below, were too steep to ascend. Mtali took one side of the river, and Chindebvu and the hunter took the other, and so they slowly worked their way down stream; and after covering five or six hundred yards, they were about to turn round and try up stream, when they came on the spoor again. Old Njati had waded down this distance in the water, and then instead of choosing an easy sloping bank to climb out on, had clambered up a steep, hard bit.
After this, although the tracking was simple and straight-forward, they soon recognized the hopelessness of following, as they saw that old Njati was on trek, the spoor going ahead without waiting to feed by the way, and, worst sign of all, down wind, which meant that the old fellow expected danger from behind, and consequently there would be no possibility of getting near him. However, they pushed
on till dusk, and then reluctantly had to admit themselves beaten, and turn back. After making their way so far as they could in the dark, they found a sheltered spot, lit a fire, and sat down to wait for the moon to rise.
Now Njati went down to the big river, and having come there he traveled down the bank for three days and suffered much hunger by the way, for this was not the season for the grazing of the big river. The sun was hot and burnt his back, and there was no green grass; moreover all the bango reed was dead and burnt. After a while he came to a stream which met the big river, and following it up he found a swamp. Much of this had dried up, but there were still parts where the reeds were green, and also grass, but of an inferior quality. Here he maintained himself till the rains came and it was time to go into the hills.
With the first rains the green grass sprang up juicy and sweet, and be lingered at the foot of the hills till the heavy rains came and the grassy places were under water. Then he climbed up the steep sides, and came to the rolling valleys, up and down which he wandered for a while. Here, too, was a sheltered place under the side of a rock to lie in, and at other times the leeward of certain trees and the bamboo brake to protect him from the wind. Thus the rains passed, and he descended to the plains again, and the burning of the grass found him once more in his old haunt by the Mpuzi stream, where we first made his acquaintance.
The years went on, and Njati was growing infirm. His knees were weak, and he could not travel so far nor so fast; he lay down often, and so fed less, and could not wander in search
of the best grazing. His eyes were dim, his senses failing, and the food no longer tasted good to him; he no longer could climb the hills nor visit the swamps, and his change of grounds lay only between the Mpuzi and the big river.
It so happened that about this time the hunter came down from the north, where he had been hunting ivory, and arived at the waters of the great river. Here he camped, intending to cross the next day; but, going out in search of something for dinner, Mtali, who was with him, struck the spoor and signed to his master to come and see.
"What is it?" said the hunter. "It is he of the Mpuzi," answered the tracker.
The eye of the native travelled up the spoor and caught the bowed head of a thistly plant, which had been trodden down by Njati in passing; and an examination of this showed that he must have passed a couple of days ago. They followed up the spoor for some distance, and by the manner of its going judged that he was changing grazing-grounds, and by the direction that he must be returning to the Mpuzi. Having come to this conclusion they returned to camp. Two days later they were again camped under the baobab tree, and the following day, at dawn, the party set off along the banks of the river, and after a long search they came on the spoor.
The sun had now passed the third time of prayer, and the chances were that they would not come up with him that day. However they forged ahead, and soon came to some grassy uplands, where old Njati had wandered during the day and rested often. Judging that he would lie up on the further side, instead of wasting time here, they crossed to the bush, and
making a cast they had the fortune to hit on his tracks.
"He now wants to lie down," said Chindebvu, noticing where the buffalo had stopped and tried a piece of ground by kneeling; but it evidently was not suitable, as he had got up again and gone on.
Presently the tracks, which had been going steadily up wind, turned at a slight angle. A buffalo, when he has selected a lying-up place, generally makes a detour to reach it, finally approaching it from the windward side, so that he may be able to wind anyone following on his tracks.
The party took the precaution to leave the spoor at this juncture, and after moving at right angles to it for a little way, opened out at a distance one from the other, and proceeded up wind through the possible lying-up place. Although they had taken this precaution, it seemed so certain that the buffalo must have moved on again after his midday halt, the afternoon being well advanced, that they pressed on hastily through the bush country without due caution, so anxious were they not to waste time. Njati must be now well on his way to his evening grazing-ground, they thought; but as in war SO in hunting, the unexpected always happens.
Old Chindebvu on the right of the line had just passed a thick clump of thorn, when there was a bellow and a beat of hoofs, and, forgetting his age, he clambered up a miniature thorntree with the agility of a baboon, and was perching on the topmost twigs, like some strange kind of bird, while Njati pounded underneath in a cloud of dust. The hunter caught a glimpse of the flying form and massive horns, and aiming well forward delivered a rapid shot. In another moment the bush had swallowed up the animal, and there was only the sound of his
galloping hoofs growing fainter in the distance.
Slowly and solemnly Chindebvu descended from his perch, ignoring the gibes of Mtali, and sitting upon the ground became engrossed in the study of chiropody. This operation finished, they got on the spoor again, and soon a drop of frothy blood showed them that the buffalo had been hit in the lungs, but, remembering the angle at which the shot had been fired, the hunter feared that only one lung had been penetrated, — as proved to be the case, for an hour later the animal was still going strongly, though limping slightly on one leg; and as he was going down wind there was no hope of their coming up with him that night.
About an hour before sunset they arrived at a mud pool whither the buffalo had gone to wallow, drink, and plaster his wound; and, by the way the mud had settled, they judged he must have passed half an hour or more before them. As here at least was water, they resolved to pass the night at this place. The water-bottle had been untouched since leaving the river, but now that there was a chance of refilling it, it was called into use. The remainder of their luggage was the hunter's much battered canteen, a native axe, and a strip of biltong. comprised all the necessary impedimenta for a luxurious bivouac.
The hunter wandered off with his gun, which Mtali had been carrying. The latter now picked a few reeds growing in the pool, and, choosing a good place, laid them carefully down, crossing and recrossing them at the bottom of the shallow pool to keep the mud down and to allow comparatively clean water to be taken off the top without stirring up the sediment. Meanwhile Chindebvu, taking the axe had cut down a few long and straight saplings, and choosing two suitable trees planted a couple in the ground be
tween them and lashed the remainder
While all this was in progress couple of shots were heard, and presently the hunter returned with a brace of guinea-fowl. All hands then set themselves to bring in bundles of long grass, and, with strips of bark of the saplings, these were lashed into the framework, making a wall to protect them from the wind. Dead branches were collected, a few more saplings cut down for firewood, and a fire was soon made to leeward of the wall. The birds were cut open, cleaned, and cooked spatched-cock fashion in a cleft stick, the end of which was sharpened and stuck into the ground near the fire, and turned when necessary.
The canteen was now opened and revealed its contents; they belied its disreputable-looking exterior, for here. neatly packed away, were a small tin of cocoa sufficient to make one pint, a little bottle of saccharine, some salt and pepper, two biscuits, a little bottle of quinine, a spare box of matches. and something long, carefully wrapped up in silver paper. The birds and the cocoa were both excellent. Grass was thrown upon the fire to give a light, while they arranged little piles of wood with which to feed it during the night; these were placed within arm's reach, as it is tedious to get up to replenish the fire. Two thick poles had been cut down, and these were placed with their butts in the fire, so that as their ends were consumed they could be pushed farther in.
Everything having been made snug for the night, the hunter cleaned his rifle, reloaded it and laid it by his side, and then drew forth the silver packet, which being unwrapped disclosed a cigar of choice brand. In a hard life of camping and travelling, far from civilization, luxuries have to be reduced to a minimum in bulk and weight, and the hunter's selection of
the only luxury that he allowed himself was the result of careful deliberation; for a few boxes of cigars do not weigh much, and yet every single cigar enabled him to finish off a rough hunter's meal in exactly the same way as the most gorgeous of London's dinners would have terminated.
With the scent of good tobacco in the air, the hard ground and frugal fare seemed less real than the scenes of a different life which flitted before his imagination; and so, heaping up the fire, he lies back with his hand clutching the rifle at his side, and dreams of fair faces and gay cities intermingle with enormous tuskers waiting to be killed by a rifle which will never go off, till a cold chill creeps over him, and he awakes to pile up the fire and to sleep once more.
The false dawn saw the hunter sitting by the fire, and gathering the scattered embers wherewith to brew a cup of cocoa, while the natives toasted little pieces of biltong on sharpened sticks.
By the time the surrounding objects began to assume definite form the water-bottle had been refilled, and they started off again on the track of old Njati. The blood-spoor had now stopped, all but a tiny clot now and again on a twig or branch crossing the way. After going some way they came to a shallow nullah containing a dry watercourse bordered by a stiff cane-brake, a likely place for a buffalo to be lying up in. As it would have been unwise to follow the tracks in here down wind they made a long détour to approach the place quietly from the opposite side; and here they found out-going tracks which showed clearly that Njati had again moved on. There was fresh blood on the spoor, which was curious, as for the last hour there
had been no vestige of any. They had not gone far before the hunter stooped down and picked up a little wisp of clotted hair. He examined it critically, and then passed it on to his companions, who uttered exclamations of surprise, for it contained the black and white hairs from a lion's mane.
Retracing their steps to the canebrake, they entered and saw the whole story written upon the ground, for those to read who could. Here was the stealthy tread of the lion's pugs, short of stride, as he crept towards his prey, sometimes dragging his stomach along the ground, now the crouch ready to spring, with the impress of the animal's form on the ground, and the marks where the claws, shot out ready for the grip, had torn up the grass; and there, ten yards distant, was where the buffalo had been lying, and, getting the alarm just in time, had staggered to his feet, and the signs of the mighty conflict, his hoof-marks ploughing up the ground as with a mighty heave he had thrown his antagonist clear of him, to slink off with a wounded side, as the bleeding tracks of the lion showed. After the fight old Njati had moved on, growing weaker at every step, till. finding a patch of dead grass, he passed through, and lay down on the farther side so as to hear any one approaching through the grass.
As the sun mounted overhead he longed for water, and thought of the cool valleys of the hills, and then again of the swamps during the first rains. The heat-haze of the parched country burnt into his eyes, and he rested his head on the hot, bare soil, as it seemed to have grown too heavy to hold up. Suddenly, however, he heard a rustle of grass, and turning his head he saw his enemy standing near with the thunder-stick in his hand. Tottering to his feet he gave a fierce snort and tried to charge the intruder. The
hunter raised his rifle to his shoulder, but before he could fire the magnificent beast fell with a crash, and lay convulsively kicking with his hoofs; and then, with a longdrawn sigh, old Njati passed away, and started on the long trek to the grazing-grounds of the spirit buffaloes.
The hunter stood regretfully looking down at the noble beast, whose horns were scarred and chipped with many a fight. The idea of seeing this fine animal converted into joints of meat seemed repulsive to him, and as Mtali came running forward, knife in hand, he waived him back. As he turned to go a swift shadow passed over the ground, and breaking off some branches he placed them reverently over the massive head, to keep away the vultures, and then silently wended his way back to camp.
"Truly are the white men mad," said Mtali to the little group round the camp fire that night. Macmillan's Magazine.
Old Chindebvu raked in the embers with a stick, and after a thoughtful pause said: "How may you, a young man, know what is in the heart of the white man?”
"But there was all that meat left lying in the bush," complained Mtali, turning to Tayari for consolation.
After another profound pause, Chindebvu said: "The white man is strong. -the white man is brave,-the white man is fierce,-but what medicine does he make to become thus? He does not eat the heart of the lion, nor does he wear a necklace of the hair of his enemies. Surely, to-day he has made some great medicine, and you, a young man, cannot know the medicine of the white man."
"Nevertheless, shall I go to-morrow and fetch some of the meat?" said Mtali, sulkily.
"Chindebvu," called the hunter, "we trek to-morrow at dawn for the big river."
MR. RALEIGH'S SHAKESPEARE.*
It was a bold venture in the editor of the "Men of Letters" series, whoever he may be, to determine upon adding to his roll of honor the incommensurable name of Shakespeare; for the simple reason that a biography in any real sense is out of the question, and criticism, at this time of day, if it is to be more than panegyric, must deal with the particular rather than with the general. If the impossible task was to be assigned to any one, no better choice could have been made than of Professor Raleigh, who has shown by more than one monograph that he has the rare gift of an instinct for poetry, while the Muses have en
"Shakespeare." By Walter Raleigh. (English Men of Letters. Macmillan. 28. net.)
trusted him with a style of his own which is vivid and imaginative to a remarkable degree. It is not too much to say that the book which has been published this 23rd of April has been looked forward to with keen expectation by most lovers of our literature; and if no one has expected a miracle, no one has a right to be disappointed. Mr. Raleigh has given us an essay, overflowing with life, crammed with suggestion, full of stimulating ideas and happy turns of phrase, and with no dull page from beginning to end. is table-talk in excelsis, stamped with all the freshness and brightness of an original mind. This impromptu nature of Mr. Raleigh's criticism brings with it, of course, the defect of its quality;