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Very few instances are known of Elaps bite, but those few
unquestionably set this ornamental creature in a class by itself,
among American Ophidia, for "results." Out of eight
well-authenticated cases of Elaps bite, six of the victims died.
This is believed to indicate a falsely large percentage, however,
the scientific estimate of mortality being somewhere between
twenty-five and fifty per cent.

A government scientist tells me of a curious result from
coral-snake bite which came under his notice. The victim, who was
handling the reptile preparatory to photographing it, apparently
overstepped the bounds of its habitual forbearance, for it
fastened upon his finger with such determination that it had to
be pried off. The man soon became unconscious, but rallied, and,
after three days of dubious condition, recovered. Every year
since, at about the anniversary of the bite, an ulcer forms upon
the finger and the nail sloughs off. I have heard of similar
recurrent effects from crotaline poisoning, but none
scientifically attested, as is this phenomenon.

Before passing from the subject of snakes, let me make one point
clear. While the venomous snakes of this country are by no means
"deadly" in the ordinary sense of the term, their bite is always
serious, both in its immediate effects and in the possibility of
after effects. The bitten person should get to a physician at
once. The immediate treatment is prompt incision and sucking of
the wound. Permanganate of potash for rubbing into the bitten
place should always be carried by persons traveling in a
snake-infested country. If the bite is on a limb, a light
ligature will check the spread of the venom. Use whisky
sparingly, if at all, and then only in case of complete collapse.

The local treatments are most effective while the venom is still
around the site of the bite, and will reduce the injurious
effects considerably. But after half an hour or so the absorption
of the venom becomes more general and the local treatments
ineffective. When the venom once enters into general circulation
no chemicals or medication can neutralize its effects, except a
specific antivenin, such as has been prepared by Dr. Noguchi at
the Rockefeller Institute in New York. Antivenin is the only
antidote that can counteract the action of venom anywhere in the
body. It finds the venom wherever it is present and neutralizes
it there, without producing any ill effects on the system.


Dissension and discussion have raged for years about the hideous
head of the Gila monster. This great lizard of the Southwest has
been pronounced absolutely deadly by one set of partisans, and
absolutely harmless by another. Somewhere between lies the truth.
If any human being has actually been bitten by a heloderma, the
event has either escaped notice or has been so hedged about with
obstructive legend as to have forfeited scientific credence. But
the saurian itself has been studied and dissected, and its venom
has been analyzed. The venom is related to snake poison, but is
neither crotaline nor elapine. From animal experiments it is
thought that it might be fatal to man under unfavorable
conditions. There are no fangs proper. The poison gland is in the
lower jaw, instead of in the upper, as in snakes, and its product
is projected through small ducts which open in the gums outside
the teeth. The Gila monster has the grip of a bulldog. Torture
will not loosen its hold, once fastened on. It is through this
intimate contact that the venom works into the wounds.

Fortunately, the lizard is slow to anger, and prefers flight to
battle, so it is likely to be long before science has an
opportunity of studying the effect of its envenomed jaw-clamp
upon man. There are a few vaguely rumored reports of prospectors
having perished, in the desert, of Gila monster poison, but these
are so confused with symptoms suspiciously resembling alcoholic
poisoning as to lead Dr. R. W. Shufeldt, an authority upon the
Reptilia, to remark that "a quart of raw whisky, practically
given at one dose, may prove more fatal than the bite of ten

Almost any kind of an insect bite or sting MAY prove fatal. So
may a pin scratch, if the blood of the subject be in bad enough
condition. There is a well-substantiated case of a trained nurse
who died from blood poisoning following a mosquito bite. Ant bite
has resulted fatally, as has a single sting from the common wasp.
No one, however, considers these everyday insects as "deadly."
But substitute "scorpion" for "ant," and "centipede" for "wasp,"
and shrieks of dismay rise from the general throat. Yet perhaps
there is no other variety of harmful creature whose reputation
rests upon so meager a foundation as that of these two.

True, an El Paso report claims that a man stung by a whip
scorpion died in twelve hours; but the details are so vague as to
be in a high degree unconvincing. Dr. Eugene Murray-Aaron, a
witness of unimpeachable scientific competency, describes the
sting, after several personal encounters with the vigorous
tropical species, as no worse than that of a large hornet. Dr. L.
B. Rowland, of Florida, says: "My wife has been stung several
times [by the common scorpion]. It is like a wasp sting, only."


The Mexican scorpion enjoys an evil repute, which, from personal
observation, I consider greatly exaggerated. Stewart Edward White
was so obliging as to afford me excellent opportunity of judging,
in the course of a recent hunting trip which we took together in
a hot and remote Mexican desert. Mr. White, in the process of
disrobing, sat down upon a brown scorpion, an inch and a half
long. The scorpion punctured Mr. White twice. I noted his
symptoms. They were chiefly surprise and indignation. Within half
an hour he was asleep, and on the following day he was riding a
mule. The scorpion, however, died.

With respect to the centipede, satisfactory data are difficult to
obtain. Some scientists whose observations are worthy of note
state that the legs of this curious creature secrete a poison,
and that their trail over human flesh is marked by a sort of
rash, sometimes followed by fever. As showing that this is not an
invariable phenomenon, I may set the circumstantial account given
me by Captain Robert Kemp Wright, who, at his place at Pitch
Lake, Trinidad, saw a good-sized centipede crawl across the
forehead of his sleeping son. Not daring to make a move, as the
centipede is supposed to strike very swiftly, Captain Wright was
compelled to stand still while it slowly made its way to the
pillow and thence to the floor, where it was killed. The boy, who
had neither waked nor moved, showed absolutely no trace of the
reptile's course.


The only direct evidence which has come to me regarding the bite
of the hundred-legged crawler was from an English naturalist whom
I met in Venezuela. He was bitten on the ankle by a centipede
nearly a foot long. So severe was the laceration that his sock
was clotted with blood before he could get it off. The two
punctures were marked. Almost immediately the ankle began to
swell. The pain he describes as being equal to a bad toothache.
It kept him awake all that night. He had some fever, which,
however, he attributes rather to the loss of sleep than to any
specific action of the poison, as there were no other general
symptoms. In the morning the pain had abated a good deal, and he
believes that he could have gone about his pursuits had he been
able to get his sock and shoe on. He noted some discoloration
about the wound. Late in the afternoon he was hobbling about. A
week in a carpet slipper was the extent of disability which he
suffered. On these evidences it would seem just, for the present,
to set down the scorpion and the centipede as painful, rather
than dangerous, assailants.

Diseased imagination could invent no creature more horrific of
appearance than the tarantula. Its bristling and hostile aspect,
the swift ferocity of its rush, its great size, and its
enthusiastic preference for combat as against flight, are
sufficient to account for the fear and respect in which it is
generally held. But, though several species of the huge spider
are native to the United States, and others frequently drop out
of banana bunches from South or Central America, to the
discomfiture of the unsuspecting grocer, no authentic instance of
death from tarantula poison in this country is obtainable. St.
Louis papers please copy, particularly that one which, several
years ago, announced in appropriately black headlines:

IN TWO WEEKS Three Men Have Died From Bites of Tarantulas,

proceeding to explain that the victims were banana handlers in
the wholesale fruit district. No names were supplied--a common
phenomenon in this class of obituary notice. Search in the
coroner's records failed to bring to light any case of the sort,
and an exhaustive inquiry in the fruit district was equally
unproductive. The report was a pure fake.

Apparently of the same nature is the "news story" of a
Californian who, presumably mistaking a tarantula for a fragrant
floweret, was bitten on the nose and "died in great agony." That,
of course, is the proper way to die under such circumstances.
They all do it--in print.

Now let us see about the "agony." Herbert H. Smith, the
naturalist and collector, saw a man bitten on the bare foot by a
tarantula (Mygale) so hard as to draw blood. There was very
little swelling, and the man paid no heed to the occurrence, but
went on with his work.

I have talked with a Southern Pacific Railroad fireman who was
jabbed on the wrist by a large tarantula. Some years before, he
had been stung on the cheek by a "bald" hornet. He wasn't
inclined to make any choice between the two except that the
tarantula (not the wound) "looked a d----sight more scary." He
didn't let the bite interfere with his job, even for the day.

On the other hand, Dr. Murray-Aaron records serious symptoms
following two bites upon the hand by a large female trapdoor
tarantula; pain comparable to that of the worst earache,
involuntary twitching of arms, legs, lips, and tongue, great
swelling and discoloration of the hand and forearm, and
considerable suffering for four days, with occasionally recurrent
pains for a month. This, however, was in Haiti. And even there,
he believes, death never follows tarantula bite unless the
subject is in a depleted state of resistance from blood-disease
or other cause.

Under the heading "Fatal Spider Bite" there is a considerable and
interesting newspaper bibliography. The details do not analyze
well. Often the name of the supposed victim doesn't appear; and
where names and specifications are given, the evidence is hardly
sufficient, as a rule, to convict the insect of any crime more
serious than mayhem. For example, a young woman in Brooklyn awoke
one morning to find a swollen spot on her body. On the bed was
(according to allegation) a spider. Some ten days later she died.
For a long period she had been in ill health. Yet the death was
credited to the spider, though specific symptoms of venomous
poisoning were lacking.

The instance of a young woman in an Eastern state is significant.
Thrusting her foot into an old slipper, she felt a sharp jab upon
the point of her index digit. Upon hasty removal of the footgear,
she saw, or supposed she saw, a large and ferocious spider dart
forth. This, to her mind, was evidence both conclusive and
damning. Seizing upon the carving knife, she promptly cut off her
perfectly good toe, bound up the wound, and sent for the doctor,
thereby blossoming out in next day's print as a "Heroine who had
Saved her own life by her Marvelous Presence of Mind." The
thoughtful will wonder, however, whether the lady wouldn't have
got at the real root of the matter by cutting off her head
instead of her toe.


Imagination and terror undoubtedly account for certain general
symptoms in this class of injury. Colonel Nicholas Pike, a
competent observer, records a case of a man slapping his hand
down upon a window sill and feeling a lively stab in the palm. At
the same moment a small spider ran across the back of his fingers
and was captured. There was a distinct puncture in the hand.
Here, then, was a definite case, where the wound and the insect
were both in evidence. But examination of the arachnid's fangs
satisfied Colonel Pike that they were far too small and weak to
penetrate the tough skin where the wound was. Meantime the victim
exhibited the classic symptoms of venomous poisoning: numbness,
nausea, chills, and threatened collapse. A physician, being
summoned, examined both the victim and the accused, and took
Colonel Pike's view that the spider was innocent. The man was
wrathful, with the indignation of terror. He said he guessed he
knew whether he was bitten or not, and that the physician's
business was to eschew idle speculations and go ahead and save
his life if it wasn't already too late. Thereupon the doctor
opened up the wound and extracted a section of a fine needle. The
other half was found sticking in the window sill where a careless
seamstress had fixed it. The spider had been a fortuitous
arrival. The man made one of the quickest recoveries recorded.


Strangely enough, the one really dangerous spider on the American
continent is small, obscure, and practically unknown to popular
or journalistic hysteria. Latrodectus mactans is its scientific
name. It is about the size of a large pea, black with a red spot
on the back--a useful danger signal--and spins a small web in
outhouses or around wood-piles. So far as is known, its poison is
the most virulent and powerful, drop for drop, secreted by any
living creature. Cobra virus, in the minute quantity which the
Latrodectus's glands contain, would probably have no appreciable
effect upon man; whereas the tiny spider's venom, in the volume
injected by the cobra's stroke, would slay a herd of elephants.
Were this little-known crawler as large as the common black
hunting spider of our gardens and lawns, its bite would be almost
invariably fatal. Happily, the "red-spot's" fangs, being small
and weak, can with difficulty penetrate the skin, and are able to
inject venom in dangerous quantity only when the bite is
inflicted upon some tender-skinned portion of the body.
Nevertheless, fatalities consequent upon the bite of this insect
are sufficiently well attested to take rank as established
scientific facts.

One of the most detailed comes from an intelligent farmer of
Greensboro, North Carolina. A workman in his employ, while
hauling wood, brushed at something crawling upon his neck and
felt a sharp, stinging sensation. He found a small, black spider
with a red spot. This was at 8.30 A.M. Presently, ten small white
pimples appeared about the bitten spot, though no puncture was
visible and there was no swelling. The pain soon passed, but
returned in three hours and became general, finally settling in
the abdomen and producing violent cramps. At one o'clock the man
had a spasmodic attack. Two hours later he had so far recovered
as to be able to go back to work, for an hour. Then the spasms
took him again; he sank into coma, and died between ten and
eleven o'clock that evening, about fourteen hours after the bite.
At no time were there local symptoms or swelling, other than the
slight eruption, but the neck, left arm, and breast are reported
as having assumed a stonelike hardness.

The same farmer had seen, three years previous, a negro who had
been bitten upon the ankle by a "red-spot" and who suffered from
diminishingly severe spasmodic attacks for three weeks. The white
pimples appeared in this case also. The negro recovered, but the
eruption reappeared for years thereafter whenever he was

Recoveries from Latrodectus bite are much more common, in the
records, than deaths. Dr. Corson, of Savannah, Georgia, reports
six cases, characterized by agonizing pains, spasmodic
contractions like those of tetanus, and grave general symptoms.
All recovered. From Anaheim, California, a fatal case is reported
by Dr. Bickford, death occurring twenty hours after the bite.
William A. Ball, of San Bernardino, California, gives a vivid
account of his sensations after being bitten on the groin by a
red-spotted spider, the data being attested by his physician.
Shortly after being bitten, he began to suffer great agony, with
convulsive contractions of the muscles.

"The pains in my hip-joints, chest, and thighs grew rapidly more
violent, until it seemed that the bones in these parts of my body
were being crushed to fragments." He was seriously ill for ten


It may be that only under certain uncomprehended conditions is
the venom of the Latrodectus effective. Inoculation of guinea
pigs with the poison has been without any resultant symptoms.
Scientific experimenters have suffered themselves to be bitten
and have experienced no ill effects. The foreign cousins of the
American species, however, have as evil a repute as the
"mactans." The "katipo," found in sedges on the beach of New
Zealand, is dreaded by the Maoris, who traditionally refuse to
sleep nearer than half a stone's throw from the water, that being
the extent of range of the spider. The Latrodecti of Corsica,
Algeria, and France are infamous in the lore of the country folk,
which fact must be regarded as strongly evidential, when their
insignificant appearance is taken into account.

Only in America is there no popular fear of this really
formidable little creature. Yet it is found in almost every part
of the United States, though by no means one of the commoner
spiders. In the past five years I have seen two specimens at my
country place in central New York, and have heard of a dozen
others. If people understood generally that this rather
ornamental insect is both more perilous to life and health, and
rather more prone to attack human beings, than the
superstitiously dreaded "deadly" copperhead, there would probably
be a heavy mortality in the Latrodectus family at the hands of
energetic house-cleaners.


Years ago the United States Bureau of Entomology received from an
exasperated clergyman in Georgia a dead insect, enclosed in this

"Prof. Riley: What is this devil? He sailed down on my hedge. I
took hold of his lone front leg, and as quick as lightning he
speared me under my thumb nail and I dropped him. My thumb and
whole arm are still paining me . . . "

The miscreant was a fine specimen of Reduvius personatus, the
cone-nosed blood-sucker, soon thereafter to achieve heights of
newspaper notoriety together with its cousin, Melanolestes
picipes, as the "kissing-bug." How many persons died (in type)
from kissing-bug bites in the year of enlightened civilization,
1899, will never be known. But from far and near, from California
and Connecticut and the Carolinas, from Minnesota and Maryland
and Maine, came startling reports of this hitherto unfamed
creature's depredations upon the human countenance. Thereby the
spider family was relieved of much unmerited odium, for it is
more than suspected by entomologists that a large proportion of
so-called spider bites are really the work of the more vicious
but less formidable-appearing kissing-bug, as is often evidenced
by the nature of the puncture.

The kissing-bug is about half an inch in length, flat-backed,
shaped in geometrically regular angles, and armed with a large,
hard beak. It is this beak which does the damage, for the
kissing-bug is a fighter and will risk a prod at anything that
gives it cause of offense. Testimony is not lacking that it
sometimes punctures the human epidermis with a view to obtaining
blood at first hand instead of from its natural prey.

But the curious feature of the kissing-bug's bite is its after
effect. Neither the southern Reduvius nor the northern
Melanolestes possesses any venom apparatus. Now, an insect
without fangs (or sting), duct, and poison gland, can no more
envenom the object of its attack than a fish can kick a man to
death. Yet we find such authorities as Dr. L. O. Howard, the
United States Entomologist, Professor Le Conte, Mr. Charles
Drury, of Cincinnati, and others, including a mass of medical
witnesses, declaring from first-hand observation that the
kissing-bug bite causes much swelling and severe pain. Le Conte,
indeed, compares the effect to snake bite, and states that people
are seriously affected for a week. A case is recorded from
Holland, South Carolina, where there were vomiting and marked
weakness. Mr. Schwartz, an expert of the Bureau of Entomology at
Washington, was bitten twice upon the hand and testifies to the
painful effects. In 1899, when the species was very common in
Washington, the Emergency Hospital had a long list of patients
who appeared on the records under the heading, "Insect Bite."


Thus was started the general "scare," a reporter with a keen nose
for news having made a legitimate "sensation" from the repeated
entries on the hospital roster. From Washington it spread over
the country, and became the topic of the day, until any insect
bite or sting--mosquito, hornet, bedbug, or whatnot--was
magnified by the hysteria of the patient and the credulousness of
the public into a "dangerous" instance of kissing-bug poisoning.
Reports of fatal cases, however, invariably proved to be canards.

For explanation of the marked local symptoms resultant upon
attack by the insect, science has been hard put to it. The
general symptoms, observed in a few cases, where violent, may
probably be ascribed to shock and nervousness. But the marked
swelling and pain cannot be thus dismissed. Medical men believe
that the insect, in its various prowlings for food, thrusts its
exploring beak into decaying animal and vegetable matter and
thus, in a sense, so poisons it that when it comes into contact
with human blood, a rapid local infection is set up--not through
any specific poison, as in spider bite or bee sting, but by the
agency of the putrefactive germs collected on the weapon.

Not the least interesting phase of the kissing-bug scare is the
rapidity and completeness of its decadence. It is but ten years
ago that the newspapers rang with it; that victims of the bite,
in every city, were fleeing, white-faced and racked with
forebodings, to doctor or hospital. To-day, both the Melanolestes
and the "conenose" are abroad in the land. Doubtless, upon
provocation, they are "spearing" others as they speared the
outraged clergyman. But that's all. The bepunctured ones do not
seek the consolations of medical or journalistic attention. They
put a little wet mud or peroxide on the place and let it go at
that. Exit another bogy!


One venomous creature there is in this country which may justly
be termed a public peril, in the widest sense. Proportionately to
population, more victims fall to it yearly in the United States
than to the dreaded cobra in India. Some twelve thousand
Americans are killed every year by its bite. Three hundred
thousand more are made seriously ill from the after effects.
Unfortunately, the virus works so slowly that alarm is stilled.
The victims do not sicken at once. The bite is forgotten; but ten
days or two weeks after, the subject falls into a fever. His
blood is poisoned within him. Eventually, in extreme cases, he
becomes delirious, succumbs to a stupor, and dies.

Yet, because there is nothing horrific to the sensation-loving
imagination in the malaria-bearing mosquito, public inertia or
ignorance tolerates it with a grin and permits it to breed in
city and country alike throughout the length and breadth of the
nation. Compared with it, as a real menace, all the combined
brood of snakes, scorpions, centipedes, tarantulas, and other pet
bugaboos of our childish romanticism are utterly negligible; are
as figment to reality, as shadow to substance. It is perhaps
characteristic of our wryly humorous American temperament that we
should have invested the unimportant danger with all the
shuddering attributes of horror, and have made of the real peril
a joke to be perennially hailed with laughter in a thousand
thoughtless prints.

Vol. XXIII October 1910 No. 4

Lassoing Wild Animals In Africa {pages 526-538}


Field Manager of the Buffalo Jones African Expedition


SOMEHOW everything seemed to happen on moving day with the
Buffalo Jones Expedition in East Africa. Exactly why this should
have been it is impossible to tell. Perhaps the reason may be
found in the fact that a considerable part of our time was
occupied in moving. No doubt the circumstance could be traced to
some such perfectly reasonable cause. But we chose to look upon
it otherwise.

When an outfit like ours has been working for a while in the open
country--especially when the undertaking has no precedent and the
outcome is decidedly uncertain--the little happenings of each day
gradually grow to have a peculiar significance of their own, and
finally a brand-new set of superstitions is formed and half
jokingly believed in by every one concerned. In this way an
expedition comes to be regarded as lucky or unlucky, or lucky on
certain days, or at certain hours of the day, or at certain
periods of the moon. The wide reaches of the African veldt have
something to do with it, perhaps.

These superstitions are temporary, local, and often purely
personal affairs. Means, being a cowboy, believed that when he
rode his big-boned bay the drive would be successful. The native
dog-boy insisted that when the long-eared bloodhound and the
little white terrier were coupled together on the march, the rest
of the pack would come through without mishap. Loveless swore by
a particular piece of rope, and Mac--which is short for
Mohammed--discovered propitious omens on every conceivable

It was on the first day's march into the Kedong Valley that we
had roped the wart-hog. On the journey from Sewell's Farm to
Rugged Rocks we had rounded up and photographed the eland. Again,
it was on the trek of March 8 to the Wangai River that we had
caught our only glimpses of rhinoceros and lion--faint chances of
making a capture, but still chances, and better than no signs at

And thus, merely because it had turned out so in the past every
member of the expedition had come to entertain a semi-serious
belief that something momentous was bound to happen on moving

A general feeling of expectancy pervaded the entire safari when
we broke camp at the Wangai River at dawn of a hazy morning. The
sky was clear of clouds, but behind the hills of the Mau
escarpment a veldt fire had been burning for several days, so
that a veil of smoke was seen hanging in the air as the dawn
broadened into day. The smell of the burning veldt and the
nearness of the fire lent an oppressive warmth to the still

"You two boys had better carry your heavy ropes," the Colonel
said at starting. "We might meet something."

We had finished with the Kedong and Rift valleys. We had hunted
every corner of the district within striking distance of the
water. And we had had success of a kind. Cheetah, eland,
hartebeest, and serval-cat we had roped and tied and
photographed. But the really big game had so far escaped us. For
this reason we had decided to take the road over the Mau, where
the smoke haze hung heavy, and so on into the Sotik country,
where both lion and rhino were said to abound.

For the first ten miles of the march our way led across
untraveled country, toward the two deep ruts in the veldt that
were known as the wagon road. We had an extra ox-wagon with us
now, in charge of Mr. Curry, an Africander, who lived with his
partner on a farm on the border of the Sotik, and who on his
return journey home with his wagon had agreed to help us carry
supplies. Curry was slight and round-shouldered, with light
yellow hair. His face was burned a bright red, excepting his
nose, which was white where the skin was peeling. He had a
peculiar, slow, drawling way of talking--when he talked at all,
which was seldom. Being an inhabitant of the district into which
we were going, he was naturally subjected at first to a number of
questions in regard to the big game there.

"Plenty of rhino in your part of the world, I suppose?"

"Y--as," drawled Curry.

"And lion, too, I imagine?"


"Ought to get some giraffe on the way, hadn't we?"


"Rhino pretty scarce just now, though, aren't they?"

"Y--as," Curry answered placidly.

Thus it soon became apparent that Curry's chief ambition was to
agree pleasantly with whatever anybody said, which tended to
discredit any information he had to impart. So, as a matter of
course, the questions ceased, and when no more were asked him
Curry's conversation ceased also.

It was rough going for the ox-wagons those first ten miles, and
they made slow time of it along the base of the hills. According
to our custom on the march, the Colonel and the two cowboys, the
picture department (composed of Kearton and Gobbet), and Ulyate
(the white hunter) and myself rode in a widely extended line in
front of the safari, sweeping the country for game. It was hot at
the base of the hills--so hot that when your bridle hand dropped
inadvertently to the pommel of the saddle, the brass mounting
there seemed to burn you. Not a breath of air was stirring, and
the sun shone down blazing through the wisps of smoke haze, and
the heat waves rose from the dead, parched veldt so that the
distant southern volcano looked all quivering.

Then from out the blurred vista in front little by little a clump
of comparatively large trees began to take definite shape.
Another half mile farther, and we saw that something was moving
among the trees as high up as the topmost branches.

"Giraffe," said Ulyate, and no sooner had he spoken the word than
the great, towering animals wheeled and fled from their shelter
with that long-legged gallop of theirs which looks so easy and
slow, but which carries them over the ground as fast as a speedy
horse can run.

The Colonel and the two cowboys set off at a hand gallop in a
vain attempt to round them up and drive them back to the cameras.
The race was a hopeless one for the horsemen from the start. But,
according to the general method of operations adopted by the
Colonel from the very beginning, no chance of a capture, however
slim it might appear, was to remain untried so long as men and
horses could endure.

The two ruts of the wagon road led close by the grove of trees,
and when the rest of us reached this spot and dismounted to await
results, the three leading horsemen had disappeared long ago into
the scrub-grown country to the south.

As noon approached, the heat became more and more oppressive. The
cameras had been screwed to the tripods and covered with our
coats to protect them from the sun. The horses grazed near by.
Mac was sent up one of the trees to warn us of the approach of
anything like a giraffe, and the rest of us sat on the ground
round the bole in the small circle of thin shade and lazily
watched the black ants always crawling and climbing and
zigzagging back and forth over the network of fallen twigs and
leaves. It was too hot to talk--it was too hot to sleep or think.
And by and by the ox-wagons came up, and the oxen brought the
flies. For a time then the only sounds were the slow crunching of
the feeding horses and an occasional inarticulate snarl from some
one or other who foolishly tried to brush the flies away from his

Eventually, after a long time had passed, Means rode into the
grove of trees, un-heralded by Mac and alone. The bay horse had
fallen badly, wrenching his rider's back where once he had been
hurt before. Means took his saddle off, threw it on the ground,
and sat on it.

"He dropped into a pig hole," he explained, "an' hopped out again
as neat as could be. But in hoppin' out he hopped into another,
an' that just naturally discouraged him an' he come down with

No comments were made, nor did Means expect any. But evidently he
had considered it only justice to the bay that the mishap should
receive from him the proper explanation.

Then Loveless returned, also alone. He made a few grumbling
remarks about its being all nonsense to run the horses to death
when there was no chance at all. But as his listeners showed not
the slightest interest in the matter, he, too, relapsed into

The Colonel was the last to come in. He rode straight to the tree
where the company were gathered, dismounted, and sat down. Then
he spoke to the world at large.

"They must be about here somewhere," he said. "And being about
here somewhere, we'll get 'em yet."

When the shadow beneath the tree began to lengthen toward the
east, the safari shook itself together and prepared to move on
once more. But this time, instead of occupying his customary
position at the head of the column, the Colonel lagged behind.

Immediately after leaving the grove of trees, the road commenced
to climb the first rises of the Mau escarpment. As we mounted
higher up the hillside, the view behind us opened out into a
grand panorama of the two valleys and their sentinel volcanoes,
with the smoke haze hanging over all. For a time, those of us who
were in front rode half sideways in the saddle, looking back over
the way we had come and over the district we had grown to know so
well. Then we crossed a small, level park that formed the crest
of the first hill, and as we moved down the western slope the
view behind us disappeared and the new country spread before us.

Kearton was riding with his head sunk on his chest like a sick
man. Gobbet asked if anything was wrong with him.

"Nothing bad; too much heat this morning, likely."

"Want to hunt a bit of shade and lie up awhile? "

"No, I'll go on."

Gobbet shrugged his shoulders. "You're the judge," he said.

Hill after hill stretched away in front to the one upstanding
kopje that marked the top of the Mau. The district was wooded
with small, twisted trees, and the fire had crossed here, so that
the ground was black and the air smelled stronger of burning.

Presently Means stopped. "I'd better wait till the Colonel comes
along," he explained. "The Colonel don't carry any weapons."

Loveless stopped with him, and, as Ulyate was somewhere behind
with the ox-wagons and porters, this left Kearton, Gobbet, and
myself to ride on by ourselves. For a mile or more the road
lifted and dipped with monotonous regularity, and the burnt land
was still on either hand, without a sign of life anywhere to be
seen. So when the sun really began to decline toward the west,
Gobbet, who had once been assistant manager of the Alhambra Music
Hall in Brighton, told the story of Harry Lauder and the liquid
air biscuits, and it seemed to do Kearton good. Kearton had just
told Gobbet to quit his lying, when all three of us realized that
for the last half minute we had been unconsciously listening to
the beat of a galloping horse on the road behind.

The next instant Ulyate pulled up in a cloud of dust.

"Colonel wants you," he said. "They've rounded up a giraffe."

We wheeled the horses and started back on the run.

"About--three--miles! Left--of the--road!" Ulyate shouted after

There were various reasons that called for haste. How long the
ropers could keep the giraffe rounded up was especially
uncertain, and then, besides, it was near the end of the day and
soon the light would be too far gone for a picture.

We met the line of porters and they scattered right and left.
Farther on, the ox-teams crowded one side to give us room. Then
we came upon the four special porters with the cameras. Kearton
took his machine on the saddle with him, and Gobbet caught up the
tripod from another pair of outstretched arms.

When we reached the bit of clearing and looked to the left of the
road, we saw the long neck and head of a giraffe sharply outlined
against the sky.

The giraffe stood motionless. His feet were spread a little apart
as though he was prepared to dash away again at the first
opportunity, and he gazed in a curious way first at one, then at
another of the three ropers that surrounded him and now sat their
horses, waiting. There was still enough light left for a picture,
but Kearton was nearly done.

"Give him a minute's breather," said the Colonel. " We'll hold
the critter till he's ready."

We took Kearton off his horse and stretched him on the ground and
poured the lukewarm water from a canteen on his head. Meanwhile
Cobbet screwed the camera to the tripod and set it up.

By the time Gobbet had finished, Kearton was on his feet again.
From his position near by, Means ventured the opinion that it was
too much excitement that had knocked him over, and Kearton swore
back at him pleasantly and went to work.

A high-pitched yell from the Colonel sent the giraffe away across
the open with that clumsy-looking, powerful gallop that is all
his own, and with his long neck plunging slowly back and forth.

Loveless's black, one of the fastest horses in the string, had
hard work to gain on the giraffe, expecially as the animal
swerved quickly at the last moment and fled down the eastern
slope of the hill through the scrub where the going was none too

It was a difficult throw--and a new one for a Western cowboy--to
send the noose so far up into the air over the head perched high
on the long, swaying neck.

But at the first attempt Loveless succeeded, and then reined in
gently so as not to throw the beast, because a giraffe would fall
heavily, and would very likely break his neck or a leg if tumbled

Finally he was brought to a standstill, his feet spread apart as
before, and for a while the two stood facing each other--the
cowboy and the towering giraffe, with the rope from the saddle
horn leading up at a considerable angle to the shoulders of the
prize. The rest of the hunt soon gathered about them. Although
the light was rapidly failing, Kearton finished what was left of
his roll of film. The whir of the camera ended with a peculiar
flapping sound.

"That's all," said Kearton, and sank down on a near-by stone.

But Loveless and the giraffe continued to face each other

"Well?" said Loveless, presently.

"Well?" echoed the Colonel.

"Well, how are we going to take this rope off him? We've got none
to spare, you know."

"Get a ladder," suggested Means.

"No, we won't need a ladder," said the Colonel seriously, "but
we'll have to throw him, after all. We can do it gently, I guess,
without hurting him."

Accordingly, Means roped the giraffe by one hind leg and pulled
it out from under him, so that he sank easily to the ground and
both the ropes were loosened and freed.

The sun had set and the short twilight was rapidly deepening. The
ox-wagons and porters were several miles ahead. So we packed up
the camera, coiled up the ropes, mounted, and rode away, and the
giraffe raised himself on his haunches among the bushes and
watched us go.

We camped at a water hole that night, and started on again the
next morning in the darkness before the dawn, with a porter ahead
carrying a lantern to show the way. With ox-wagons it is a three
days' journey from that water hole to the Guas Nyiro River at the
border of the Sotik. The country through which we passed
continued to be the same as that of the Mau escarpment--a
succession of low hills and shallow valleys covered with the
small, twisted trees. And there was plenty of water on the way.
But there was no game in the district.

We had been told before starting that we need not expect to see
anything on the way, because antelope, zebra, and such like
animals avoid the wooded section so as not to be caught unaware
by lions, and, since the prey seek the safety of the open plains,
the lions are compelled to follow.

In spite of this fact, and although the dense woods and broken
ground generally forced the safari to keep to the road, the
cowboys were always ready and the cameras, always loaded with
film. But the land on either side remained silent and deserted.

And each day's journey was the same as the one before; the start
in the gray of the morning, the long, hot ride, with the road
gently rising and falling over the hills, and the sudden cool of
the evening when the sun went down. At times the camera
department would take moving pictures of the wagons and porters
crossing a river, where an especially picturesque bit of scenery
offered an attractive setting. Occasionally Means, as he rode
along, would commence singing one of the songs of our Western
plains, verse after verse, seemingly without end, recounting in
detail some local historical event, such as an Indian attack on
an army post, a shooting affair at a dance, or a train-robber's
hanging. He would sing more to himself than to anybody else, and
if this began to bore him at all, he would stop in the middle and
leave the story untold.

Then sometimes, when we outspanned for an hour at noon, the four
special camera porters would give imitations of Kearton and
Gobbet taking pictures, of Loveless shoeing horses, or of Means
in the act of roping. And in the evenings, when the day's march
was done and the outpost fires had been lighted, the talk of the
company would turn to our chances of finding luck in the Sotik
country that lay ahead.

In the afternoon of March 16 we reached Webb's Farm, in the Guas
Nyiro valley, which lies at the edge of the big plains. In this
neighborhood there were three farms--Webb's, Curry's, and
Agate's--and on the evening of our arrival some of their men paid
a visit to the camp. They had heard of the expedition, and each
in turn examined the horses, the dogs, the ropes, and the
saddles, and then, like the hunters at Nairobi, asked the
inevitable question:

"But how are you going to do it?"

"Oh, we'll do it somehow," the Colonel replied good-naturedly.
And the visitors shook their heads a little and smiled and
changed the subject.

But to attempt to rope a rhinoceros or a lion required fresh
horses, and ever since we had left Nairobi, nearly a fortnight
ago, we had worked our horses hard every day. Now that we had
reached the land of the big game, the Colonel for the first time
called a day of rest. So we loafed about camp from sunrise to
sunset and by evening were heartily sick of it all.

Perhaps we had expected too much of this Sotik country; perhaps
the expedition was running, temporarily, in a streak of bad luck;
but the fact remains that when we resumed hunting on March 18,
disappointment only followed disappointment.

As we had done in the Rift Valley, so here we adopted the method
of sweeping the country with a widely extended line. The first
day we rode far to the southward, to the Hot Springs and back,
and found nothing, and an unreasoning depression settled upon the
expedition. The next day we rode still farther, to the westward
this time, and again found nothing, and so the depression
deepened. Also on the afternoon of this day it rained heavily,
and Curry agreed with Ulyate that this probably meant the
beginning of the rainy season, which was already overdue.

That night at the supper table the Colonel spoke his mind. The
rain was dripping through the canvas fly overhead, and the
Colonel wore his broad-brimmed hat to help keep the water off his

"There's no use hanging round here any longer," he said, "not a
bit of use. We haven't seen anything, nor a sign of anything.
When the rains begin in earnest, this ground will soften fast an'
the horses will get bogged an' we'll have to quit. So from now on
we've got to work fast. Now Ulyate says there's water about
twelve miles from here to the north--called the Soda Swamp. We'll
start for the Soda Swamp in the morning."

Again it was moving day. The morning dawned fine after the rain,
and the air was clear, and the country looked greener and fresher
than it had ever looked before. By the time the sun rose, the
first wagon was packed, so the safari set out on the journey,
leaving the second wagon to load and follow our tracks, for there
was no road to the Soda Swamp.

At the last moment the Colonel decided that he and the cowboys
might just as well make a circuit to the westward of the line of
march on the off chance of finding game.

"We covered that district pretty thoroughly yesterday," he said.
"But still, you never can tell."

Yet nobody thought it worth while for the camera department to go
with them, and so Kearton and Gobbet and the four special porters
trailed along with the slow, plodding wagon. In the first place,
the wagons would follow the shortest route and the horses would
be none the worse for an easy day; in the second, if by the
remotest chance the Colonel flushed anything worth while, he
could more easily find the cameras.

Curry had remained behind to bring on the second load, and soon
Ulyate left us to make a detour past Agate's farm to procure
another sack of rice that was badly needed. Ours was a large
safari, and the details of transportation required close

The morning wore on. The sky remained clear and the heat became
intense. The direction in which we were traveling led us along
the border of the plains, through small green parks, scattered
groves of trees, and scrub.

So far as the mounted men were concerned, the march was a
succession of rides and halts. The heavily laden ox-wagon
traveled slowly, and it soon became our custom to dismount in a
bit of shade and let the wagon pass ahead about a mile, when we
would mount again and catch up with it and then repeat the

At one of these places there was a grass-grown mound against
which we sat, leaning comfortably, and speculated on the distance
we had come and the distance we had to go. When, after a while,
it became evident that we should never agree in the matter, the
conversation altered to a sort of spasmodic affair.

"I thought this district was so full of big game that you
couldn't sleep at night for the lions roaring around you," Gobbet
remarked lazily.

"Wait till you get among them," said Kearton. "Sais, keep that
horse farther away; he'll be walking on us next."

"Well, I haven't been kept awake any yet," Gobbet replied.

"I wonder where that wagon's got to," and Kearton raised himself
on one elbow and peered ahead from beneath the down-tilted brim
of his helmet. Then he lay back again and shut his eyes.

"Means is coming," he said.

The announcement occasioned no surprise. Undoubtedly Means had
some reason for returning over the trail, and when he reached the
mound we should probably learn what he wanted.

Means dismounted and sat down beside us. "We've found a rhino
over in the next valley yonder," he remarked, and nodded his head
toward the west.

"A rhino is no matter to joke about," said Gobbet. "Please
remember that in future."

"I'm not jokin'," said Means. "Colonel's watchin' him. Loveless
stopped halfway here, about three miles off. Colonel sent me to
bring the rest of you and get the heavy rope."

"Is that right, Means?" Kearton asked sharply.


"Come on, then."

In five minutes we had overtaken the wagon and stopped it, and
while Means clambered up on to the load to hunt for the heavy
rope, Kearton collected the camera porters and started ahead with
them in the direction Means pointed out.

But Means could not find the rope he wanted. He threw off half
the load without success.

"It's on the other wagon. There's where it is," he finally
concluded. "No time to wait now. Other wagon likely hasn't
started yet. We'll have to do with what we've got."

We rode on at an easy jog to keep the horses fresh, and at the
end of half an hour we came upon Loveless waiting for us just
beneath the crest of a rise. He had off-saddled his horse and had
turned him loose to graze a bit before the coming work, and a few
minutes were occupied while Loveless saddled up again and Kearton
and Gobbet adjusted their cameras and took them on their horses.

Finally every one was ready, and we set forth once more on a wide
detour to the north to approach the beast from down the wind.

Loveless gave us the latest news: "The Colonel came over the rise
a half hour ago and said the rhino was laying down resting quiet.
The Colonel went back again at once to keep watch."

As we proceeded farther on the circuit and began to ride down the
gentle slope into the adjacent valley, we slowed down the pace to
a cautious walk. No one spoke, and on the grass of the veldt the
tread of the horses made scarcely any sound.

Suddenly the Colonel appeared, walking toward us, bent low. He
had backed out o' his hiding-place behind a clump of scrub.

"He's laying down over there about a hundred yards away," he
whispered. "Now we want to catch the start of the show. You boys

Means tightened his cinch, and shook his rope loose and coiled it
up again. Loveless said he was ready. One of the saises produced
the Colonel's horse from behind another clump of scrub, and
Kearton dismounted and began creeping forward with his camera.

"Don't start him up till I get my position," he cautioned. "I'll
wave my hand."

On account of the growth of low bushes, we could not see the
rhino, but in silence we watched Kearton tiptoeing farther and
farther ahead toward the spot where the Colonel had said the
beast was lying down. The time was approximately a little after
noon. The wind that was blowing was light, and same to us hot
over the sunny reaches of veldt. The sky was cloudless.

Then the three ropers commenced maneuvering forward, swinging out
a little to the right. Kearton stopped. He set up his camera and
sighted it, and took out his handkerchief and carefully wiped the

When Kearton waved his hand, the Colonel's yell shattered the
stillness and the great beast heaved up out of the grass and
tossed his head and sniffed the air and snorted. The horsemen
rode full tilt at him, and with surprising quickness the rhino
wheeled and broke away south down the valley.

For a good three miles the rhino ran straight and fast. Finally
he came into more open country, which was dotted here and
therewith small thorn trees. Here, also, in one place there was a
fair-sized pool of water, left over from the rains of the night
before. The rhino selected this pool as a good position from
which to act on the defensive. He splashed into the water,
stopped, and faced the horsemen.

Then followed a few minutes' respite for all concerned. The
horses were panting heavily after the sharp run, and the rhino's
position in the pool rendered it difficult to approach him for a
chance to throw a rope. Evidently considering himself safe for
the moment, the beast rolled once or twice in the water and then
stood on guard as before, but with his black sides dripping.

"We've got to get him out of that," said the Colonel. "A horse
wouldn't stand a show there. Now when I get him to charge me, you
boys stand by."

Before the Colonel finished speaking, he was already edging
toward the pool. For fifteen yards the rhino watched him coming.
Then with a great snort he charged out of the water, sending the
white spray flying in every direction, and the Colonel had to
ride hard to keep ahead of the tossing horn. But Means was after
the rhino like a flash, and with a quick throw caught him round
the neck. The big bay fell back on his haunches and the rope
snapped like twine.

"We'll miss that heavy rope to-day," Means said.

"We'll tie him up with what we've got," the Colonel replied.
"Only we've got to tire him out some first. What we'll do is to
make him charge us one after the other, so he'll run three times
to the horses' running once."

It was a full half hour before the next attempt was made to throw
a rope. Time after time the rhino came plunging out of the water
to charge the nearest horseman. Our Western horses proved to be
only just a trifle faster than the rhino, so that each time the
beast nearly caught them. Besides, here and there, the ground was
bad with ant-bear holes, which had to be avoided, for a fall
would mean disaster. But little by little it became apparent that
the rhino's continual charging was beginning to produce an

In the meanwhile the rest of the chase was coming up. In the
distance we could see them hurrying down the valley--horsemen and
porters considerably scattered, as if each one followed a route
of his own choosing Kearton led on his big chestnut. He was
carrying the heavy camera under his arm, the tripod over his
shoulder. The reins were hanging loose over his saddle horn, his
heels were thumping the horse's sides, and the perspiration was
streaming down his face.

"We lost you," he panted. "How's it going? What a picture!"

Mac, the Mohammedan, and Aro, the Masai warrior, took the
apparatus from him, and he dismounted and went to work.

At the second attempt to rope the beast, Loveless caught him by
one hind leg, and the rhino decided to shift his base of
operations to an ant-hill in the neighboring clearing. His mode
of progression was to walk on three legs and to drag the black
horse after him with the other. He reached the ant-hill and
demolished it and paused for a breathing spell.

The chase followed after, and Kearton went into action on the
north and Gobbet on the south, near a small thorn tree, with a
negro porter beside him. The rhino caught sight of Gobbet's
camera and charged. The porter went up the tree like a flash.
Gobbet was bent over, looking through his view-finder, which, of
course, gave him no idea of how fast the beast was bearing down
on him nor how close he had already come.

"Look out!" yelled the Colonel.

Gobbet glanced up over the top of the camera and made a jump for
the tree. But the porter was already in the branches, and the
tree was so small there was not room for two, and Gobbet had to
run for it. The next second, with a powerful upward stroke of his
horn, the rhino sent the apparatus flying. Then Means succeeded
in attracting his attention and he charged the horseman instead.
Gobbet picked up the debris, found that the tripod-head was split
clean in two as with an axe, found the camera itself undamaged,
found there was enough head left to support the camera, quickly
mounted his machine again, and was just in time to catch the end
of the rhino's chase after Means.

And all the while Kearton had his camera trained upon the scene
in which his assistant was playing the conspicuous part.

"I hope I got that good," he said; "it'll make fine

From one position to another, from ant-hill to thorn tree and
back to ant-hill once more, the fight went on through the long,
hot afternoon. Ropes were thrown and caught and broken, mended
and thrown again. The horses were pulled, all standing, one way
and another. Rolls of film were exposed and replaced by fresh
ones. The rhino sulked and stormed and charged in turn.

At the end of the fourth hour Loveless had one short length of
light line left. The rest of the ropes were dangling, broken,
from the rhino's legs and neck as he stood at bay over the ruins
of the ant-hill.

The sun was rapidly canting toward the west. The continual work
in the intense heat, without food or water, was beginning to tell
on both horses and men. The rhino was weakening faster. But only
one hour of daylight remained, and if the beast could hold out
till dark we should lose him.

There was the dead stump of a tree with the roots protruding
lying in the grass near by. The Colonel told Means to fasten the
stump to the last piece of line, and Loveless rode toward
Kearton's machine, past the rhino, dragging the stump behind him.
As the Colonel had foreseen, the beast charged at the stump, and
the loose ropes hanging from him became entangled in the roots.

So on they went at a run, first Loveless, then the stump,
bounding over the ground, then the charging rhino, headed
straight for Kearton's camera. The Masai warrior stood by the
tripod with his long spear poised high, and Kearton turned the
handle and shouted at Loveless:

"How many times have I got to tell you not to come straight into
the lens? Bring him on at an angle! . . . I don't want to be
unreasonable," he added, when the rhino stopped, "but you ought
to have learned better by this time."

Then, by hauling in gently, Loveless succeeded in recovering two
of the ropes, and they were pieced together and thrown again,
catching the rhino by one hind leg. Both the cowboys put their
horses to work pulling forward on the rope, and they lifted that
one hind leg ahead. The tired beast shifted his great body after
it, and thus step by step the horses dragged him up to a tree,
where Loveless passed the end of the rope two turns around the
bole and made it fast.

The rhino charged once just before the knot was tied, and
Loveless had to jump into the branches through the thorns to
escape. He charged again, rather feebly this time, trying to get
free, but the rope held well and tripped him up. After that he
stood quietly at the end of his tether, watching the camera in a
sullen way while Kearton took his picture with the last few feet
of film.

By this time the light was almost gone, the films were finished,
horses and men were nearly done, and, besides, it was moving day
and high time we resumed the march.

In the November number Mr. Scull will relate the adventures of
the Buffalo Jones African Expedition in Lassoing Lion.

Vol. XXIII No. 5 NOVEMBER, 1910

The Homely Heroine {pages 602-608}


MILLIE WHITCOMB, of the fancy goods and notions, beckoned me with
her finger. I had been standing at Kate O'Malley's counter,
pretending to admire her new basket-weave suitings; but in
reality reveling in her droll account of how, in the train coming
up from Chicago, Mrs. Judge Porterfield had worn the negro
porter's coat over her chilly shoulders in mistake for her
husband's. Kate O'Malley can tell a funny story in a way to make
the after-dinner pleasantries of a Washington diplomat sound like
the clumsy jests told around the village grocery stove.

"I wanted to tell you that I read that last story of yours," said
Millie, sociably, when I had strolled over to her counter, "and I
liked it, all but the heroine. She had an `adorable throat' and
hair that `waved away from her white brow,' and eyes that `now
were blue and now gray.' Say, why don't you write a story about
an ugly girl?"

"My land!" protested I. "It's bad enough trying to make them
accept my stories as it is. That last heroine was a raving
beauty, but she came back eleven times before the editor of
Blakely's succumbed to her charms."

Millie's fingers were busy straightening the contents of a tray
of combs and imitation jet barrettes. Millie's fingers were not
intended for that task. They are slender, tapering fingers,
pink-tipped and sensitive.

"I should think," mused she, rubbing a cloudy piece of jet with a
bit of soft cloth, "that they'd welcome a homely one with relief.
These goddesses are so cloying."

Millie Whitcomb's black hair is touched with soft mists of gray,
and she wears lavender shirtwaists and white stocks edged with
lavender. There is a Colonial air about her that has nothing to
do with celluloid combs and imitation jet barrettes. It breathes
of dim old rooms, rich with the tones of mahogany and old brass,
and Millie in the midst of it, gray-gowned, a soft white fichu
crossed upon her breast.

In our town the clerks are not the pert and gum-chewing young
persons that story-writers are wont to describe. The girls at
Bascom's are institutions. They know us all by our first names,
and our lives are as an open book to them. Kate O'Malley, who has
been at Bascom's for so many years that she is rumored to have
stock in the company, may be said to govern the fashions of our
town. She is wont to say, when we express a fancy for gray as the
color of our new spring suit:

"Oh, now, Nellie, don't get gray again. You had it year before
last, and don't you think it was just the least leetle bit
trying? Let me show you that green that came in yesterday. I said
the minute I clapped my eyes on it that it was just the color for
you, with your brown hair and all."

And we end by deciding on the green.

The girls at Bascom's are not gossips--they are too busy for
that--but they may be said to be delightfully well informed. How
could they be otherwise when we go to Bascom's for our wedding
dresses and party favors and baby flannels? There is news at
Bascom's that out daily paper never hears of, and wouldn't dare
to print if it did.

So when Millie Whitcomb, of the fancy goods and notions,
expressed her hunger for a homely heroine, I did not resent the
suggestion. On the contrary, it sent me home in thoughtful mood,
for Millie Whitcomb has acquired a knowledge of human nature in
the dispensing of her fancy goods and notions. It set me casting
about for a really homely heroine.

There never has been a really ugly heroine in fiction. Authors
have started bravely out to write of an unlovely woman, but they
never have had the courage to allow her to remain plain. On Page
237 she puts on a black lace dress and red roses, and the
combination brings out unexpected tawny lights in her hair, and
olive tints in her cheeks, and there she is, the same old
beautiful heroine. Even in the "Duchess " books one finds the
simple Irish girl, on donning a green corduroy gown cut square at
the neck, transformed into a wild-rose beauty, at sight of whom a
ball-room is hushed into admiring awe. There's the case of Jane
Eyre, too. She is constantly described as plain and mouse-like,
but there are covert hints as to her gray eyes and slender figure
and clear skin, and we have a sneaking notion that she wasn't
such a fright after all. Therefore, when I tell you that I am
choosing Pearlie Schultz as my leading lady you are to understand
that she is ugly, not only when the story opens, but to the
bitter end. In the first place, Pearlie is fat. Not plump, or
rounded, or dimpled, or deliciously curved, but FAT. She bulges
in all the wrong places, including her chin. (Sister, who has a
way of snooping over my desk in my absence, says that I may as
well drop this now, because nobody would ever read it, anyway,
least of all any sane editor. I protest when I discover that Sis
has been over my papers. It bothers me. But she says you have to
do these things when you have a genius in the house, and cites
the case of Kipling's "Recessional," which was rescued from the
depths of his wastebasket by his wife.)

Pearlie Schultz used to sit on the front porch summer evenings
and watch the couples stroll by, and weep in her heart. A fat
girl with a fat girl's soul is a comedy. But a fat girl with a
thin girl's soul is a tragedy. Pearlie, in spite of her two
hundred pounds, had the soul of a willow wand.

The walk in front of Pearlie's house was guarded by a row of big
trees that cast kindly shadows. The strolling couples used to
step gratefully into the embrace of these shadows, and from them
into other embraces. Pearlie, sitting on the porch, could see
them dimly, although they could not see her. She could not help
remarking that these strolling couples were strangely lacking in
sprightly conversation. Their remarks were but fragmentary,
disjointed affairs, spoken in low tones with a queer, tremulous
note in them. When they reached the deepest, blackest, kindliest
shadow, which fell just before the end of the row of trees, the
strolling couples almost always stopped, and then there came a
quick movement, and a little smothered cry from the girl, and
then a sound, and then a silence. Pearlie, sitting alone on the
porch in the dark, listened to these things and blushed
furiously. Pearlie had never strolled into the kindly shadows
with a little beating of the heart, and she had never been
surprised with a quick arm about her and eager lips pressed
warmly against her own.

In the daytime Pearlie worked as public stenographer at the Burke
Hotel. She rose at seven in the morning, and rolled for fifteen
minutes, and lay on her back and elevated her heels in the air,
and stood stiff kneed while she touched the floor with her finger
tips one hundred times, and went without her breakfast. At the
end of each month she usually found that she weighed three pounds
more than she had the month before.

The folks at home never joked with Pearlie about her weight. Even
one's family has some respect for a life sorrow. Whenever Pearlie
asked that inevitable question of the fat woman: "Am I as fat as
she is?" her mother always answered: "You! Well, I should hope
not! You're looking real peaked lately, Pearlie. And your blue
skirt just ripples in the back, it's getting so big for you."

Of such blessed stuff are mothers made.

But if the gods had denied Pearlie all charms of face or form,
they had been decent enough to bestow on her one gift. Pearlie
could cook like an angel; no, better than an angel, for no angel
could be a really clever cook and wear those flowing kimono-like
sleeves. They'd get into the soup. Pearlie could take a piece of
rump and some suet and an onion and a cup or so of water, and
evolve a pot roast that you could cut with a fork. She could turn
out a surprisingly good cake with surprisingly few eggs, all
covered with white icing, and bearing cunning little jelly
figures on its snowy bosom. She could beat up biscuits that fell
apart at the lightest pressure, revealing little pools of golden
butter within. Oh, Pearlie could cook!

On week days Pearlie rattled the typewriter keys, but on Sundays
she shooed her mother out of the kitchen. Her mother went,
protesting faintly: "Now, Pearlie, don't fuss so for dinner. You
ought to get your rest on Sunday instead of stewing over a hot
stove all morning."

"Hot fiddlesticks, ma," Pearlie would say, cheerily. "It ain't
hot, because it's a gas stove. And I'll only get fat if I sit
around. You put on your black-and-white and go to church. Call me
when you've got as far as your corsets, and I'll puff your hair
for you in the back." In her capacity of public stenographer at
the Burke Hotel, it was Pearlie's duty to take letters dictated
by traveling men and beginning: "Yours of the 10th at hand. In
reply would say . . ." or: "Enclosed please find, etc." As
clinching proof of her plainness it may be stated that none of
the traveling men, not even Max Baum, who was so fresh that the
girl at the cigar counter actually had to squelch him, ever
called Pearlie "baby doll," or tried to make a date with her. Not
that Pearlie would ever have allowed them to. But she never had
had to reprove them. During pauses in dictation she had a way of
peering near-sightedly over her glasses at the dapper,
well-dressed traveling salesman who was rolling off the items on
his sale bill. That is a trick which would make the prettiest
kind of a girl look owlish.

On the night that Sam Miller strolled up to talk to her, Pearlie
was working late. She had promised to get out a long and
intricate bill for Max Baum, who travels for Kuhn and Klingman,
so that he might take the nine o'clock evening train. The
irrepressible Max had departed with much eclat and clatter, and
Pearlie was preparing to go home when Sam approached her.

Sam had just come in from the Gayety Theatre across the street,
whither he had gone in a vain search for amusement after supper.
He had come away in disgust. A soiled soubrette with
orange-colored hair and baby socks had swept her practiced eye
over the audience, and, attracted by Sam's good-looking blond
head in the second row, had selected him as the target of her
song. She had run up to the extreme edge of the footlights at the
risk of teetering over, and had informed Sam through the medium
of song--to the huge delight of the audience, and to Sam's
red-faced discomfiture--that she liked his smile, and he was just
her style, and just as cute as he could be, and just the boy for
her. On reaching the chorus she had whipped out a small, round
mirror and, assisted by the calcium-light man in the rear, had
thrown a wretched little spotlight on Sam's head.

Ordinarily, Sam would not have minded it. But that evening, in
the vest pocket just over the place where he supposed his heart
to be, reposed his girl's daily letter. They were to be married
on Sam's return to New York from his first long trip. In the
letter near his heart she had written prettily and seriously
about traveling men, and traveling men's wives, and her little
code for both. The fragrant, girlish, grave little letter had
caused Sam to sour on the efforts of the soiled soubrette.

As soon as possible he had fled up the aisle and across the
street to the hotel writing-room. There he had spied Pearlie's
good-humored, homely face, and its contrast with the silly,
red-and-white countenance of the unlaundered soubrette had
attracted his homesick heart.

Pearlie had taken some letters from him earlier in the day. Now,
in his hunger for companionship, he strolled up to her desk just
as she was putting her typewriter to bed.

"Gee! This is a lonesome town!" said Sam, smiling down at her.

Pearlie glanced up at him, over her glasses. "I guess you must be
from New York," she said. "I've heard a real New Yorker can get
bored in Paris. In New York the sky is bluer, and the grass is
greener, and the girls are prettier, and the steaks are thicker,
and the buildings are higher, and the streets are wider, and the
air is finer, than the sky, or the grass, or the girls, or the
steaks, or the air of any place else in the world. Ain't they?"

"Oh, now," protested Sam, "quit kiddin' me! You'd be lonesome for
the little old town, too, if you'd been born and dragged up in
it, and hadn't seen it for four months."

"New to the road, aren't you?" asked Pearlie.

Sam blushed a little. "How did you know?"

"Well, you generally can tell. They don't know what to do with
themselves evenings, and they look rebellious when they go into
the dining-room. The old-timers just look resigned."

"You've picked up a thing or two around here, haven't you? I
wonder if the time will ever come when I'll look resigned to a
hotel dinner, after four months of 'em. Why, girl, I've got so I
just eat the things that are covered up--like baked potatoes in
the shell, and soft boiled eggs, and baked apples, and oranges
that I can peel, and nuts."

"Why, you poor kid," breathed Pearlie, her pale eyes fixed on him
in motherly pity. "You oughtn't to do that. You'll get so thin
your girl won't know you."

Sam looked up, quickly. "How in thunderation did you know----?"

Pearlie was pinning on her hat, and she spoke succinctly, her
hatpins between her teeth: "You've been here two days now, and I
notice you dictate all your letters except the longest one, and
you write that one off in a corner of the writing-room all by
yourself, with your cigar just glowing like a live coal, and you
squint up through the smoke, and grin to yourself."

"Say, would you mind if I walked home with you?" asked Sam.

If Pearlie was surprised, she was woman enough not to show it.
She picked up her gloves and handbag, locked her drawer with a
click, and smiled her acquiescence. And when Pearlie smiled she
was awful. It was a glorious evening in the early summer,
moonless, velvety, and warm. As they strolled homeward, Sam told
her all about the Girl, as is the way of traveling men the world
over. He told her about the tiny apartment they had taken, and
how he would be on the road only a couple of years more, as this
was just a try-out that the firm always insisted on. And they
stopped under an arc light while Sam showed her the picture in
his watch as is also the way of traveling men since time

Pearlie made an excellent listener. He was so boyish and so much
in love and so pathetically eager to make good with the firm, and
so happy to have someone in whom to confide.

"But it's a dog's life, after all," reflected Sam, again after
the fashion of all traveling men. "Any fellow on the road earns
his salary these days, you bet. I used to think it was all
getting up when you felt like it, and sitting in the big front
window of the hotel, smoking a cigar and watching the pretty
girls go by. I wasn't wise to the packing, and the unpacking, and
the rotten train service, and the grouchy customers, and the
canceled bills, and the grub."

Pearlie nodded understandingly. "A man told me once that twice a
week regularly he dreamed of the way his wife cooked

"My folks are German," explained Sam. "And my mother--can she
cook! Well, I just don't seem able to get her potato pancakes out
of my mind. And her roast beef tasted and looked like roast beef,
and not like a wet red flannel rag."

At this moment Pearlie was seized with a brilliant idea.
"To-morrow's Sunday. You're going to Sunday here, aren't you?
Come over and eat your dinner with us. If you have forgotten the
taste of real food, I can give you a dinner that'll jog your

"Oh, really," protested Sam. "You're awfully good, but I couldn't
think of it. I----"

"You needn't be afraid. I'm not letting you in for anything. I
may be homelier than an English suffragette, and I know my lines
are all bumps, but there's one thing you can't take away from me,
and that's my cooking hand. I can cook, boy, in a way to make
your mother's Sunday dinner, with company expected look like Mrs.
Newly-wed's first attempt at `riz' biscuits. And I don't mean any
disrespect to your mother when I say it. I'm going to have
noodle-soup, and fried chicken, and hot biscuits, and creamed
beans from our own garden, and strawberry shortcake with

"Hush!" shouted Sam. "If I ain't there, you'll know that I passed
away during the night, and you can telephone the clerk to break
in my door."

The Grim Reaper spared him, and Sam came, and was introduced to
the family, and ate. He put himself in a class with Dr. Johnson,
and Ben Brust, and Gargantua, only that his table manners were
better. He almost forgot to talk during the soup, and he came
back three times for chicken, and by the time the strawberry
shortcake was half consumed he was looking at Pearlie with a sort
of awe in his eyes.

That night he came over to say good-by before taking his train
out for Ishpeming. He and Pearlie strolled down as far as the
park and back again.

"I didn't eat any supper," said Sam. "It would have been
sacrilege, after that dinner of yours. Honestly, I don't know how
to thank you, being so good to a stranger like me. When I come
back next trip, I expect to have the Kid with me, and I want her
to meet you, by George! She's a winner and a pippin, but she
wouldn't know whether a porterhouse was stewed or frapped. I'll
tell her about you, you bet. In the meantime, if there's anything
I can do for you, I'm yours to command."

Pearlie turned to him, suddenly. "You see that clump of thick
shadows ahead of us, where those big trees stand in front of our

"Sure," replied Sam.

"Well, when we step into that deepest, blackest shadow, right in
front of our porch, I want you to reach up, and put your arm
around me and kiss me on the mouth, just once. And when you get
back to New York you can tell your girl I asked you to."

There broke from him a little involuntary exclamation. It might
have been of pity, and it might have been of surprise. It had in
it something of both, but nothing of mirth. And as they stepped
into the depths of the soft black shadows he took off his smart
straw sailor, which was so different from the sailors that the
boys in our town wear. And there was in the gesture something of

Millie Whitcomb didn't like the story of the homely heroine,
after all. She says that a steady diet of such literary fare
would give her blue indigestion. Also she objects on the ground
that no one got married--that is, the heroine didn't. And she
says that a heroine who does not get married isn't a heroine at
all. She thinks she prefers the pink-cheeked, goddess kind, in
the end.



(Santa Barbara)


Stand here, and watch the wondrous birth of Dreams
From out the Gate of Silence. Time and Tide,
With fingers on their lips, forever bide
In large-eyed wonderment, where Thoughts and
Themes Of days long flown pass down the slumbrous streams
To ports of Poet-land and Song-land. Side
By side the many-colored Visions glide,
And leave a wake where Fancy glows and gleams.

And then the bells! One stands with low-bowed head
While list'ning to their silver tongues recite
The sweet tale of the Angelus--there slips
A white dove low across the tiling red--
And as we breathe a whispered, fond "Good night,"
A "Pax vobiscum" parts the Padre's lips.


Lassoing WILD ANIMALS In Africa {pages 609-621}




There was no use trying to avoid the fact any longer. The lions,
for the present, had left the Sotik country, and by remaining in
camp at the Soda Swamp the Buffalo Jones Expedition was only
wasting time. And time was precious then--was growing more
precious every day--if we expected to finish the work before the

The lion was the only big game we wanted now to complete the list
of wild animals roped and tied, and the lion was the most
important of all. The expedition had traveled the long journey to
the Sotik country especially to find them. Yet ever since the
capture of the rhinoceros on the moving day of March 20th we had
thoroughly swept the land in the vicinity of the Soda Swamp
without finding even a single spoor.

The blurred effect of the unique illustrations to this article is
accounted for by the extreme difficulty of reproducing from a
cinematograph film.

It simply meant that the lions were not there. Some explanations
were offered, some arguments arose as to the whys and wherefores
of this state of affairs. A few maintained that the lions had
always been found there before; it was strange they should have
gone. A theory was advanced that the rains were late and the
country was unusually dry, so that the game had shifted to better
pastures. Perhaps some water hole they depended on had failed.
There is generally some discussion on such occasions. We had
counted so much on the Sotik to give us our chance that the truth
was hard to realize at first. But no matter what the cause might
be, we were finally forced to acknowledge the undeniable
fact--the lions had left the district.

On the evening of March 25 the expedition faced the situation. As
usual, the night fell cold, and when supper was finished the
company collected about the fire that was burning close to the
horses. A light wind stirred in the leaves overhead and the sky
was full of stars. Here and there a tired horse was already half
asleep, and his head nodded gently in the firelight. From the
darkness came the low talk of the saises, rolled in their
blankets on the ground at the end of the picket line.

Most of the men stood with their backs to the flames, gazing
vacantly at the horses, the trees, or the stars. For a while not
a word was said. Means threw another log on the fire and then
squatted on his heels and silently watched the flames catch the
bark and flare up brightly. As the heat increased, Kearton took a
step farther away and stood again. Every one knew that the Sotik
had failed us and that it was time for us to go, and so
eventually when the Colonel spoke he only voiced the general

"We've got to go back," he said, speaking straight in front of
him at the nearest of the sleepy horses. "We've got to go
to-morrow and have a try from the water hole at the Rugged Rocks
where we saw the two lions on the way out here. We may find one
there and we may not. If we don't, we've got to go on to Nairobi
and start all over again--provided the rains don't begin."

Accordingly, through the long hot days the safari plodded back
over the way we had come from the Soda Swamp to Agate's, from
Agate's to the Honeybird River, and then on once more to the Last
Water. The cameras were stowed away on the wagons, the ropes
remained coiled on the saddles, for there was no probability of
our finding lions on the way. And each man rode as his judgment
decreed, because the business of the safari then was to get on
over the road, and the ox-wagons behind came along as best they

For the most part it was a silent journey. The expedition had
turned its back on the district that only a short week ago had
held out such alluring promises, and any day now the rains might
commence effectually to put a stop to the work before it was
done. Then, too--although this may seem to be a small matter,
still it had weight with all of us--the white hunters of the
country had ridiculed the idea of our being able to rope a lion,
and the prospect of returning and admitting defeat without having
been given a proper chance was not pleasant to contemplate.

At the Last Water we outspanned for the night and most of the
succeeding day. In view of the situation, the long halt was
absolutely necessary to give the oxen a good rest and drink
before setting forth on the twenty-four-hour journey without
water to the Rugged Rocks. But throughout the dragging hours of
the enforced rest always there loomed ahead of us the possibility
of failure and the need of haste. No mention was made of this
openly. The only sign of our underlying anxiety was a vague
restlessness pervading the entire safari.

Once on the march again, with the sun low in the west, the
restlessness disappeared. The night came dark, because the moon
rose late, and the air was still, so that the dust that lifted
from beneath the feet of the oxen drifted along with the wagon.
Now and again one of the wheels bumped over a rock in the road
and the brake beam shook and rattled. At times the high-pitched
cries of the native drivers pierced the stillness. Ahead of us
the bulk of the wagon load loomed big against the stars.

When the dying moon first showed red through the branches of the
twisted trees, the safari crossed the top of the Mau and
commenced the slow descent to the valley, and the wagons in front
became lost in the darkness and the dust. When the morning star
rose, we had come to the foothills of the escarpment, and the
dawn wind sprang up cold, so that the men shivered a little in
their saddles and buttoned up their coats and began to talk.

"It was just about here that we caught the giraffe that day,"
said Kearton. "Remember? And wasn't it hot?"

The talk drifted aimlessly, round and about from the western
ranches to Flicker Alley and the London Music Halls, only to
return in the end, as it naturally would, to the water hole at
Rugged Rocks and our chances of finding lion. The discussion was
lengthy on this point--it always was.

By the time the sun came, the expedition had entered the plain of
the Rift Valley, and with the rising of the sun the thirst began.
Toward noon we halted for a couple of hours to allow the worst of
the heat to pass over, gave the horses and the porters a little
of the water that was carried on one of the wagons, and then
inspanned again and went on. As the horsemen took the road the
Colonel outlined his plan.

"We'll give the horses a good rest to-night, for we ought to make
camp early, and then start hunting the first thing in the
morning. We've got enough horse-feed to last us three or four
days if the water holds out that long. In that time we ought to
get a lion if there's any there. I'll ride on now a bit and look
for signs."

The Colonel's horse was a faster walker than the others and
slowly he forged ahead. Little by little the safari began to
string out along the road until wide spaces grew between the
ox-wagons, with the porters straggling after them a mile behind.
A change had come over the valley since we had seen it last. The
land was whiter beneath the blazing sunshine and the dust lay
thicker in the road. Somehow it seemed deserted. The only
movement was the shimmer of the heat waves.

The camera department had the slowest mounts, and as the march
had become a plodding procession, in which the horses were
allowed to choose their own paces, one by one the other members
of the expedition passed us.

Loveless came from behind and rode with us for half a mile or so.

"I've been thinking this thing over," he finally said, "and my
idea is that after the dogs get the lion stopped, one of us can
go by him, rope him, and keep on going, and then the other fellow
can catch him by the hind legs and we've got him. If you keep on
going fast enough, I don't think he'll have a chance to spring at

In the pause that followed the delivery of this opinion on a
matter that had been thrashed out a hundred times before, his
horse gradually carried him farther ahead until he had gone
beyond the range of talk.

Ulyate, the white hunter, was the next. Kearton had just finished
filling his pipe and he silently reached out the bag of tobacco.
But Ulyate shook his head.

"Throat's too dry," he said. "But I want to be sure I understand
what I've got to do. I'm to stand by to protect the cameras and
leave the Colonel and the two boys to look after themselves. If
the lion charges them I'm not to fire--only if he comes at the

"That's right--only if he comes at the cameras."

"That's what I thought, but I wanted to make sure--It's a likely
place, this Rugged Rocks," he continued over his shoulder. "We
might easily find one to-morrow."

Means on his big bay borrowed a drink of water from Gobbet's
canteen, and rode on after the others.

The march of the safari grew slower and slower. The road was
flat, bending a little back and forth in long, sweeping curves,
like a rope that was once taut and had been loosened. The native
drivers no longer cried at the oxen, for the beasts knew by
instinct that they were traveling to water and could be relied
upon to do their best; and the men rode with their heads hung
down, watching the shadows of the horses on the road and hoping
to see them lengthen.

The Colonel, the two cowboys, and Ulyate reached the Rugged Rocks
at least an hour ahead, and when the rest of us came straggling
in we found them seated on the ground with their backs to the
bole of a tree. None of them looked up as we halted there,
dismounted, and turned the horses loose. Then Ulyate spoke.

"Water hole has dried," he said.

There was nothing to be done about it. If the water hole had
dried, it had dried. That was all. And we had to push on to
Kijabe. Lions or no lions, there was no appeal from that decree.
So we sat down with the others and watched the progress of the
far-off dust cloud that marked the approaching wagons. Then, when
darkness came again, the safari resumed the march.

But the Colonel refused to abandon his former plan entirely
without making at least one more attempt. Together with the two
cowboys and Kearton, he remained behind to scout at dawn the
district between the Rugged Rocks and the railway.

"We might be able to tell if it's worth while to come back here,"
he explained.

It was nearly noon of the following day before the scouting party
rejoined the expedition on the platform of the Kijabe station.
The party reported that near the base of Longernot, the northern
volcano, a belt of lava rock rises perpendicularly from the
plain. Close to the southern end of this belt they had flushed
two lions, a male and a female, and had kept sight of them for
fully an hour. It was the opinion of all in the party that the
lions lived in the neighborhood, probably in the rocks.

"Very likely," said Ulyate; "no one has ever hunted that corner
of the valley. There is no water there."

At first the Colonel was anxious to start back for them at once,
hauling the water with us; but after a moment's reflection he was
compelled to concede that it was time to call a halt. Means had
strained his back again and could no longer sit straight in the
saddle. An old thorn wound in Loveless's foot needed attention.
Horses, dogs, and oxen were entirely fagged out. And besides, the
camera department demanded time to develop the earlier pictures,
already too long kept in the rolls.

Of course, as the Colonel maintained, the rains might come and
the chance be lost. Also the lions might not live in the rocks,
as we thought, and to-morrow they might be gone.

"Better grab the opportunity while we have it, he said.

"Look at the horses," said Means.

The Colonel walked deliberately along the platform to where the
horses were tethered among the trees, and stood there watching
them for quite a while.

"You're right, Means," he said, when he returned to us. "They'll
need at least four or five days before we can put them at a
lion--well, we've got to chance it."

The next five days were the longest in the history of the
expedition. The Colonel, Means, and Ulyate remained at Kijabe
with the outfit. The rest of us traveled down the line to Nairobi
to procure more porters, more horse-feed, and more supplies; and
every day we watched the weather closely and speculated on the
probabilities of how long the lions would see fit to remain in
the district. The time was so short that all other plans had been
abandoned to take advantage of this one opportunity--the
expedition was plunging, so to speak, on this final chance to
succeed. But the weather held clear, and in the meanwhile the
preparations for this last attempt were pushed with the utmost

The hunters at Nairobi, together with the storekeepers and
farmers of the vicinity, had heard of the capture of the rhino.
On occasions some of them spoke of it to us. They explained that
they had thought all along that we could undoubtedly rope a

"But you haven't got a lion yet, have you?" they said.

On April 5 the preparations were nearly completed and Loveless's
foot was nearly well. So we started up the line to rejoin the
outfit, leaving Gobbet at Nairobi to finish developing the films.
We could not afford to spend more time in preparation. At Kijabe
we found the horses thoroughly rested and Means's back much
improved. He had refused to see a doctor, asserting that his back
would just naturally get better of its own accord. He said he was
ready to start.

With one exception the dogs were in good condition--old John from
Arizona with his scars of many battles, Rastus and The Rake,
taken from a pack of English fox-hounds, and Simba, the terrier,
and the collie clipped like a lion, from the London pound.
Sounder, the American bloodhound, still showed some effects of
distemper. But none of the dogs was to be left behind on this

That night the ox-wagons were loaded--one with provisions and
camp baggage, the other with drums of water--and when the dawn
first began to break over the top of the range the expedition set
forth from the station. The crater on Longernot had already
caught the first rays of the sun when we reached the bottom of
the hill and started across the flat land of the valley.

There was no road leading to where we were going, nor track, nor
path, of any kind. No safari had ever gone there before. From the
height of Kijabe station we had seen what looked to be a long,
low mound in the distant veldt. The southern end of that long,
low mound was our destination.

The horsemen, as usual, spread out in a widely extended line and
passed in front of the wagons and porters. As we penetrated
farther into the valley the nature of the country altered. Open
parks and stretches of scrub succeeded one another, with here and
there a dry donga cutting deep into the ground. As we approached
the mound it rapidly grew in height and the black rocks commenced
to appear beneath the covering of verdure.

Among the settlers of the district this mound is called the Black
Reef. It is the general opinion that the Black Reef is formed of
lava that long ago flowed down into the plain from the crater of
Longernot. The sides, which rise almost perpendicularly to a
height of some two hundred feet, are composed of jagged blocks of
stone, honeycombed with deep caves and caverns. The top is
covered with thick scrub and creepers and tall, rank grasses. To
the southward it ends abruptly, as though the lava flow had
suddenly stopped and cooled.

Under the shadow of the Black Reef the hunting party was divided
into three parts. The day was too far advanced for any real
hunting to be done, but as long as the light lasted the Colonel
wanted to make a personal survey of the ground in the immediate
vicinity of the rocks. Accordingly he rode to the northern end of
the reef, sending the two cowboys to the plains to the south,
while the rest remained where we had halted, behind the southern
shoulder, to wait for the arrival of the wagons and make camp.
But the only incident of the afternoon was a thunder cloud that
rose up out of the north and hung there, and then gradually
disappeared as the twilight advanced. The others were late in
coming in. The Colonel in the north had found tracks--innumerable
tracks of different kinds of beasts--all excepting those of the
lion. In the south the two cowboys had found a large mixed herd
of game; and Loveless had dismounted to shoot for meat, when out
of the herd a rhino charged him and he had to kill it to save

"Well, so long as he's dead we'll let him lie where he is," said
the Colonel. "Lions are mighty fond of rhino meat. They'll travel
miles to get it. Day after to-morrow, say just at dawn, we ought
to be able to pick up a fresh trail there. If we don't, it will
mean that the lions are no longer here, that's all."

Loveless grunted some unintelligible comment.

"Might as well be cheerful," said Means. "We're not beat yet."

The first real hunting day commenced at daylight the next
morning. Hour after hour the horsemen traveled the plains, back
and forth, and across and around, and carefully searched the base
of the Black Reef on every side. Only one spot was left
untouched. The Colonel decreed that no one should approach where
the dead rhino lay, lest our presence there should arouse
suspicion too soon. The rhino was a sort of special chance that
was to be saved for the proper time.

The day was unusually still and cloudless. Here and there
throughout the plains scattered herds of zebra, hartebeests, and
gazelles grazed in peace. Not a spoor or a sign of lion was to be
seen. For us the day was a blank, and toward evening the thunder
cloud rose again out of the north and again melted away into the

The camp behind the shoulder of the Black Reef was a dry camp.
Every drop of water had to be hauled in drums from Sewell's Farm.
The ox-wagon went in the morning and returned in the afternoon.
In this way we could haul just enough water to last the outfit
twenty-four hours. Special rules were inaugurated. Horses and
dogs were given the preference always, and one of the escaries
was detailed to guard the drums.

That night the wagon was long in returning from Sewell's. When it
finally arrived, the water in one of the drums had a strange

"It's bad," said Loveless.

Immediately the affair assumed grave proportions. That particular
drum became the most important object in camp. A feeling akin to
personal animosity sprang up against it. For a time the merits
and demerits of the case were seriously discussed, and some of
the porters gathered there and stared stupidly at the wagon load
of water.

"I'll tell you what it is," said Ulyate; "it's the weeds they've
used as a stopper."

The weeds in question were inspected closely and various
judgments passed, and some of the men were reminded of other
times in other lands when the water had turned bad on their

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