CHAP. HI SIGNS OF A GIRAFFE.
They had no shame in alluding to these matters, even when I was joining in the conversation-in fact, the gaol was the chief thing that they talked about. I have no doubt that if, as an amusement, I had proposed that each man should tell a story, the beginning would usually have been-" When I was in prison," etc., etc. This feature in their character corroborated the suspicion of pilfering that I had entertained. But I soon saw that some were very far worse than the others, and I determined to take the first opportunity of weeding these out. I especially mistrusted one man, whom I believe to have been a regular gaol bird, and who had the worst of influence over the rest. John Morta's most perfect honesty, through any temptation, I was assured of, and though I had had less opportunity of observing him, I fully believed in Timboo's. I only wanted to get rid of two men, and to replace them if I could, and then I had hcpes I should get on very well with the others.
Our seven days' march was an affair of six hours, and up the Tsobis river bed. For the second time we had no animal food left ; but immediately that we started we saw the fresh spoor of a giraffe. I doubted whether or no to go after it, as my horse was very thin and weak, and I could not tell where the giraffe might have gone to, probably far beyond reach; so we travelled slowly on. However, as I rode some little distance in front of the cart, I found that the track went straight up the river bed, which being now hemmed in with impracticable cliffs, the giraffe's path and our own must necessarily be the same. This made a great alteration in the case, and I cantered slowly on the spoor. My rifle was a little one (only 36 bore) but loaded with steel-pointed bullets. I was afraid of losing all chance of a shot if I wasted time by returning to the cart and getting a larger gun, and therefore I went on, as much for the pot as the sport. After a few hours' travel, during which I had kept a couple of miles in front of the rest of the party, so as to be well away from the sound of the whip and of the men's talking, the tracks turned sharp to the right, up a broad ascent, which there led out of the river, and in the middle of this, amongst some bushes, and under a camelthorn tree stood my first giraffe. I took immediate advantage of a bush, and galloped under its cover as hard as I could pelt, and was within one hundred yards before the animal was fairly off. I galloped on, but she was almost as fast as I, and the bushes, which she trampled cleverly through, annoyed my horse extremely ; I therefore reined up, and gave hex a bullet in her quarter, which hand,-