170 HERD OF ELEPHANTS, [clap. IX
glasses, besides being the most useful of telescopes. I should think it would put a man's sight in the dusk on a par with that of wild beasts generally ; and it is so portable and manageable an instrument, that I should never lie out watching for animals without one. Since my return to England I have often amused myself at night in trying their powers, which certainly are marvellous. At sea they are coming into general use, and more than one naval officer of considerable experience in chasing slavers, has assured me of their great superiority over the ordinary cumbrous night telescope. Talking of these things, I may add, that a powerfully magnifying telescope is of very little use in tropical Africa ; the air is always seething and waving from the heat, so that images are seldom sufficiently distinct to be worth magnifying.
I generally used the " direct " telescope of my sextant for day purposes; it is in fact a small single opera-glass, and I liked it very much.
Elephant shooting was out of the question at 'Tounobis for men in our position, without horses and without dogs. The river-bed is perfectly bare and very light in colour from the quantity of slabs of limestone. I should be extremely sorry to be chaseu by any animal over it. The Hottentots made such a noise that the elephants only came down twice whilst I was there ; the first time we ran up to them and fired among their legs, there were fourteen in the herd, fine fellows, standing in a row fronting us in the open moonshine. None of us dared go nearer than sixty yards ; we there had the shelter of a low slab in the limestone, but beyond the ground was quite flat.
I should think the legs were the best part to fire at, in these cases, because if the bullet strikes the bone it is sure to break it, and an elephant on three legs is like a tivaggon on three wheels, quite brought to a standstill ; and, again, if the bone be missed, the wound, if any, is only a flesh wound, and does not kill the animal. Our shots produced no effect except some very angry trumpeting from the elephants, who first faced us and then decamped. The second time we let them alone, and a young bull fell into one of the wells, which we shot. I think I would have given anything for horses at 'Tounobis. I should have enjoyed myself amazingly if I had had them.
There were no lions whatever there ; they and rhinoceroses do not hit it off together, and are seldom found in numbers at the same place.
A rhinoceros is a sulky morose brute, and it is very ridiculous to watch
a sedate herd of gnus bullied by one of them. He runs among then