166 REACH 'TOWVOBIS. [CHAP. IX.
it only took twenty minutes, and we were in our saddles again thirtyfive minutes after we had left them. It must be recollected that threepenny pocket-knives are not the best of instruments to make an impression on rhinoceros hide. There is no knife so good as a common butcher's knife ; as a general rule, soft steel, or even iron, is far better than hard steel, because you can sharpen the first on any bit of stone, and the metal does not splinter when it comes against ut bone.
We followed an elephant path, which went as straight as a Roman road. I took its direction several times with an azimuth compass, and it did not vary four degrees. We travelled till past nine, having been on the move for six and a quarter hours.
The next day, starting very early, poor Timmerman and Frieschland both knocked up; they had never recovered the Ondonga journey; we drove them as far as we could, but it was no use, and as we of course could not wait in the middle of the plain without water, we had to leave the poor creatures to their fate.
This day we managed eleven hours' actual travelling, and could have easily pushed on again, at midnight, but the Bushmen begged us not, as we were coming to where the rhinoceroses were very numerous, and assured us that if we started in the morning we should arrive at 'Tounobis before the heat of the day. This we did; we passed along a labyrinth of wild beasts' paths, put up one rhinoceros, and, after four hours, a valley in front where smoke rose among the trees announced that we had arrived at 'Tounobis.
We hurried to the water to look for spoors, and now we were, without any doubt, in a game-country. The river-bed was trodden like the ground in a cattle fair by animals of all descriptions. The water lay in pools among rocks, and there were evident marks of where the water had stood at the preceding evening, and the depth to which it had been drunk out by the animals during the night ; by the sides of these holes were the circular walls of loose stones, two or three feet high, that the Kubabees Hottentots had built up as screens, from behind which to shoot.
A little way off were crowds of Bushmen ; we went to them, and found them clustered round one of a series of deep uncovered wells, about twelve feet, across, and eight or ten deep, and very close together, into which an elephant had been pushed the preceding night by his comrades, as they had scrambled in droves to drink, and there he lay