coq TFIINOCEROS SKULLS. [CHAP, IX,
men had yet travelled to, and thence our course would, it we intended to go to 'Tounobis, lie across this plain.
The news of our shooting expedition had spread far and wide, and Damaras flocked like crows from all quarters to share in the food. The place where we slept on the 26th was a charming spot, among blackthorn trees, lighted up by fires in all directions, round each of which were grouped parties of our guests. We steadily rode on, keeping ahead of Amiral's party, and on the evening of the second day we arrived at the first great shooting place. It was a picturesque gorge in the ridge which led down to the plain, and in which was a succession of small springs. Rhinoceros skulls were lying in every direction, but strangely enough only one spoor could be seen, The whole of that night did Saul and I watch without seeing anything but a jackal. It was very disappointing, but the animals clearly were not there. We therefore pushed on. Saul had told us that the rhinoceroses would begin trooping in at nightfall, and that we should continue firing at them till daybreak, and I had believed him. Forty were killed here about a month since. I could not doubt it, for I counted in a small space upwards of twenty heads ; but I suppose that a vast number were also wounded, and that the whole game was fairly scared from the place. Amiral's men were hard up for food; each man came on his ride-ox, and carried nothing with him.
On the 28th we arrived at the furthest place the Namaquas had explored to. We saw about a dozen fresh spoors of elephants, and a few of rhinoceroses. I tried all I could to make the people encamp out of ear-shot of the water but they would not. No elephants came that night, but a rhinoceros, a lion, a hyena, and a gnu were "bagged." The Damaras were only allowed the carrion, as Amiral's suite of forty men all had to be fed: these poor people were in a sad state; they searched for pieces of old rhinoceros hide, the skin of animals that had been slaughtered here before, and which had dried in the sun before wild beasts had had time to devour it. This cooked in the fire and beaten with stones to make it soft enough to chew is not at all bad, and I have often eaten it; but there was not enough of it to feed the whole crew of Damaras, neither were there pignuts here for them to crow, and they were, consequently, in great distress.
Several Bushmen came to us here, of the tribe that lived at 'Tounobis ; the Namaquas can hardly understand them; they laughed excessively at the odd double way in which they pronounce their clicks. One man,