Recognized HTML document

34   HER DEATH.   [CHAP. II.

capped her heavily, and took some three miles an hour out of her speed. Again I galloped, loading as I went, but excessively embarrassed by the bushes, and fired again, whilst galloping, at thirty yards' distance,

and I believe missed the animal. The riding at that time was really difficult, and my horse shied very much. Again I loaded, but my horse was becoming blown, and I rode parallel to the beast, intending to overtake and confront her. There was a watercourse in the way, quite jumpable, but my poor beast made a mess of if, and chested the opposite side; yet I somehow got him over, and then rode with all the skill I could. At last I steadily gained on the giraffe, then beat her, and passed her. The giraffe obstinately made for her point. I was forty yards in advance, and pulled up full in her path. She came on: Iny horse was far too blown to fidget, and was standing with his four legs well out. I waited as long as I dare-too long, I think, for her head was almost above me when I fired, and she really seemed coming at me with vice. I put my bullet full in her face ; she tossed her head back, and the blood streamed from her nostsil as she turned and staggered, slowly retracing her path. I dare not fire again, lest I should fail in killing her, and only excite her to another run, which my horse was not fit to engage in. I therefore rode slowly after the wounded beast, and I drove her back to near where she came from, and there she stopped under a high tree. My horse was now frightened, and would not let me take my aim for the finishing blow at the brain, as it is but a small mark to shoot at ; so I got off, and the unhappy creature looked down at me with her large lustrous eyes, and I felt that I was committing a kind of murder, but for all that, I was hungry, and she must die; so I waited till she turned her head, and then dropped her with a shot.

There was now a fine holiday feast for us. When the party came up we set to -work flaying and cutting large steaks from the meat, and securing the marrow-bones, until as much was heaped on the cart as the mules could possibly struggle on with. Our Ghou Damup guides ran on to Tsobis, where many of their people lay, and who brought us six ostrich eggs and sweet gum, in return for the meat we had left behind. We now emerged from the deep gorges and high cliffs that for so long a time had shut us in, and could breathe more freely in the open country that lay about us. We had left the arid Naanip plain behind, and were arrived to where thorn-bushes and scanty grass overspread the sandy country. Fantastically peaked rocks rose on every side, and huge masses of mountains, that indicated the course of the