The Reawakening : Scientific Exploration 223
bag without any danger, however as we were busied about the flesh, it was getting dark, and we saw what we thought was a quantity of antelopes running about the rocks, however they came nearer, and as I was lifting up a shoulder of the mule, I heard a sudden exclamation from the men and there were these annoying vermin of lions, just above in the very place we were going to sit, it was very dark and they just put their heads over the stones, like big watch dogs. I thought it better not to fire in volley, but to keep guns in reserve, in case they came on us-so the Tailor fired first, but missed and the brutes were away. It was of course unsafe to watch where we had intended, especially as the night became very dark and so we went away, thoroughly vexed. I had polished off a lion in great style at the Missionary station of which I spoke ; it was a one eyed brute that had done an infinity of mischief and had been hunted, I really am afraid to say how often. He came growling amongst the horses and frightening the oxen, three nights when I was there. and ate up a nice little dog that I much wanted to buy. We started, the Missionary, the Tailor and myself with a great posse of natives who tracked him beautifully; when we found, he was about 80 yards off and bounding about, so that as I had but one barrel and was on horseback, I did not like then to venture my reputation on a shot, so we cantered after him, dogs and men full cry and after 3 hours got him nicely among the heavy sandhills, a loose lion is certainly a fine beast, so I cantered to about 40 yards behind him, pulled up and placed a two ounce ball very nicely in his stern. It was great fun to see'him growl and lash his tail. Well on he went and turned into a bush in a towering passion. Here we dismounted and walked up the next sandhills, about 30 yards from him and the first bullet (from the Missionary) shot him stone dead, and the little dog was undigested in his inside, hardly at all chewed.-Well going back to my story we found the rest of the mules unhurt and we pushed on. Water was now to hand continually, and Andersson and myself alternately rode. We had great ill luck with game, seeing none. I had however a very pretty gallop after a giraffe and after wounding him, drove him to a tree in front of the cart and there shot him. I had only my little rifle with 32 bore but I fired conical bullets, steel pointed, and he dropped just like one of the oxen at Edstone on a Monday morning. This was a very welcome addition to our food, for we were very weak from hunger, it was near a native village and I exchanged the flesh for ostrich eggs, milk, sweet gum (to eat) &c. &c. and we stopped and gorged ourselves for two days. So we went on, and on the fifteenth day reached Rehoboth'. The men were tired and partly mutinous, and the Namaquas (a sort of Hottentot) had driven every native away and all their cattle, and not one was to be got. Fortunately an American lived there, who had 50 oxen to sell. I took him into my service and bought his oxen at 25s. each-half of them being broken in. To break in the remainder was a dreadful labour, but now all 47 (3 being killed in the process) are excellent draught oxen-6 or 7 of them good riding oxen-and we think nothing of packing the wildest beast. The men have been tossed about a little, and I got a vicious poke made at me, when on horseback, but turned the horse
' In January, 1909, Professor H. H. W. Pearson met at Rehoboth an old woman, Mrs.Bassingthwaite, who remembered distinctly Galton visiting her father's house when she was a girl, seven years old. He was the" very intelligent Englishman, a blackmith," Dixon by name, mentioned in Tropical South Africa, 1st edn., p. 117. For a lifetime she had wondered what had become of him and why he never came back !