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The Land of Footprints by Stewart Edward White

Part 4 out of 6

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the jungle. The women too were wealthy and opulent without limit.
It takes considerable perception among our civilized people to
realize that severe simplicity amid ultra magnificence makes the
most effective distinguishing of an individual. If you do not
believe it, drop in at the next ball to which you are invited.
M'booley had fathomed this, and what was more he had the strength
of mind to act on it. Any savage loves finery for its own sake.
His hair was cut short, and shaved away at the edges to leave
what looked like an ordinary close-fitting skull cap. He wore one
pair of plain armlets on his left upper arm and small simple
ear-rings. His robe was black. He had no trace of either oil or
paint, nor did he even carry a spear.

He greeted us with good-humoured ease, and inquired
conversationally if we wanted anything. We suggested wood and
milk, whereupon still smiling, he uttered a few casual words in
his own language to no one in particular. There was no earthly
doubt that he was chief. Three of the most gorgeous and haughty
warriors ran out of camp. Shortly long files of women came in
bringing loads of firewood; and others carrying bananas, yams,
sugarcane and a sheep. Truly M'booley did things on a princely
scale. We thanked him. He accepted the thanks with a casual
smile, waved his hand and went on to talk of something else. In
due order our M'ganga brought up one of our best trade blankets,
to which we added a half dozen boxes of matches and a razor.

Now into camp filed a small procession: four women, four
children, and two young men. These advanced to where M'booley was
standing smoking with great satisfaction one of B's tailor-made
cigarettes. M'booley advanced ten feet to meet them, and brought
them up to introduce them one by one in the most formal fashion.
These were of course his family, and we had to confess that they
"saw" N'Zahgi's outfit of ornaments and "raised" him beyond the
ceiling. We gave them each in turn the handshake of ceremony,
first with the palms as we do it, and then each grasping the
other's upright thumb. The "little chiefs" were proud,
aristocratic little fellows, holding themselves very straight and
solemn. I think one would have known them for royalty anywhere.

It was quite a social occasion. None of our guests was in the
least ill at ease; in fact, the young ladies were quite coy and
flirtatious. We had a great many jokes. Each of the little ladies
received a handful of prevailing beads. M'booley smiled benignly
at these delightful femininities. After a time he led us to the
edge of the hill and showed us his houses across the cation,
perched on a flat about halfway up the wall. They were of the
usual grass-thatched construction, but rather larger and neater
than most. Examining them through the glasses we saw that a
little stream had been diverted to flow through the front yard.
M'booley waved his hand abroad and gave us to understand that he
considered the outlook worth looking at. It was; but an
appreciation of that fact is foreign to the average native. Next
morning, when we rode by very early, we found the little flat
most attractively cleared and arranged. M'booley was out to shake
us by the hand in farewell, shivering in the cold of dawn. The
flirtatious and spoiled little beauties were not in evidence.

One day after two very deep canyons we emerged from the forest
jungle into an up and down country of high jungle bush-brush.
>From the top of a ridge it looked a good deal like a northern
cut-over pine country grown up very heavily to blackberry vines;
although, of course, when we came nearer, the "blackberry vines"
proved to be ten or twenty feet high. This was a district of
which Horne had warned us. The natives herein were reported
restless and semi-hostile; and in fact had never been friendly.
They probably needed the demonstration most native tribes seem to
require before they are content to settle down and be happy. At
any rate safaris were not permitted in their district; and we
ourselves were allowed to go through merely because we were a
large party, did not intend to linger, and had a good reputation
with natives.

It is very curious how abruptly, in Central Africa, one passes
from one condition to another, from one tribe or race to the
next. Sometimes, as in the present case, it is the traversing of
a deep cation; at others the simple crossing of a tiny brook is
enough. Moreover the line of demarcation is clearly defined, as
boundaries elsewhere are never defined save in wartime.

Thus we smiled our good-bye to a friendly numerous people,
descended a hill, and ascended another into a deserted track.
After a half mile we came unexpectedly on to two men carrying
each a load of reeds. These they abandoned and fled up the
hillside through the jungle, in spite of our shouted assurances.
A moment later they reappeared at some distance above us, each
with a spear he had snatched from somewhere; they were unarmed
when we first caught sight of them. Examined through the glasses
they proved to be sullen looking men, copper coloured, but broad
across the cheekbones, broad in the forehead, more decidedly of
the negro type than our late hosts.

Aside from these two men we travelled through an apparently
deserted jungle. I suspect, however, that we were probably well
watched; for when we stopped for noon we heard the gunbearers
beyond the screen of leaves talking to some one. On learning from
our boys that these were some of the shenzis, we told them to
bring the savages in for a shauri; but in this our men failed,
nor could they themselves get nearer than fifty yards or so to
the wild people. So until evening our impression remained that of
two distant men, and the indistinct sound of voices behind a
leafy screen.

We made camp comparatively early in a wide open space surrounded
by low forest. Almost immediately then the savages commenced to
drift in, very haughty and arrogant. They were fully armed.
Besides the spear and decorated shield, some of them carried the
curious small grass spears. These are used to stab upward from
below, the wielder lying flat in the grass. Some of these men
were fantastically painted with a groundwork ochre, on which had
been drawn intricate wavy designs on the legs, like stockings,
and varied stripes across the face. One particularly ingenious
individual, stark naked, had outlined a roughly entire skeleton! He
was a gruesome object! They stalked here and there through the
camp, looking at our men and their activities with a lofty and
silent contempt.

You may be sure we had our arrangements, though they did not
appear on the surface. The askaris, or native soldiers, were
posted here and there with their muskets; the gunbearers also
kept our spare weapons by them. The askaris could not hit a barn, but
they could make a noise. The gunbearers were fair shots.

Of course the chief and his prime minister came in. They were
evil-looking savages. To them we paid not the slightest
attention, but went about our usual business as though they did
not exist. At the end of an hour they of their own initiative
greeted us. We did not hear them. Half an hour later they
disappeared, to return after an interval, followed by a string of
young men bearing firewood. Evidently our bearing had impressed
them, as we had intended. We then unbent far enough to recognize
them, carried on a formal conversation for a few moments, gave
them adequate presents and dismissed them. Then we ordered the
askaris to clear camp and to keep it clear. No women had
appeared. Even the gifts of firewood had been carried by men, a
most unusual proceeding.

As soon as dark fell the drums began roaring in the forest all
about our clearing, and the chanting to rise. We instructed our
men to shoot first and inquire afterward, if a shenzi so much as
showed himself in the clearing. This was not as bad as it
sounded; the shenzi stood in no immediate danger. Then we turned
in to a sleep rather light and broken by uncertainty. I do not
think we were in any immediate danger of a considered attack, for
these people were not openly hostile; but there was always a
chance that the savages might by their drum pounding and dancing
work themselves into a frenzy. Then we might have to do a little
rapid shooting. Not for one instant the whole night long did
those misguided savages cease their howling and dancing. At any
rate we cost them a night's sleep.

Next morning we took up our march through the deserted tracks
once more. Not a sign of human life did we encounter. About ten
o'clock we climbed down a tremendous gash of a box canyon with
precipitous cliffs. From below we looked back to see, perched
high against the skyline, the motionless figures of many savages
watching us from the crags. So we had had company after all, and
we had not known it. This canyon proved to be the boundary line.
With the same abruptness we passed again into friendly country.


We left the jungle finally when we turned on a long angle away
from Kenia. At first the open country of the foothills was
closely cultivated with fields of rape and maize. We saw some of
the people breaking new soil by means of long pointed sticks. The
plowmen quite simply inserted the pointed end in the ground and
pried. It was very slow hard work. In other fields the grain
stood high and good. From among the stalks, as from a miniature
jungle, the little naked totos stared out, and the good-natured
women smiled at us. The magnificent peak of Kenia had now shaken
itself free of the forests. On its snow the sunrises and sunsets
kindled their fires. The flames of grass fires, too, could
plainly be made out, incredible distances away, and at daytime,
through the reek, were fascinating suggestions of distant rivers,
plains, jungles, and hills. You see, we were still practically on
the wide slope of Kenia's base, though the peak was many days
away, and so could look out over wide country.

The last half day of this we wandered literally in a rape field.
The stalks were quite above our heads, and we could see but a few
yards in any direction. In addition the track had become a
footpath not over two feet wide. We could occasionally look back
to catch glimpses of a pack or so bobbing along on a porter's
head. From our own path hundreds of other paths branched; we were
continually taking the wrong fork and moving back to set the
safari right before it could do likewise. This we did by drawing
a deep double line in the earth across the wrong trail. Then we
hustled on ahead to pioneer the way a little farther; our
difficulties were further complicated by the fact that we had
sent our horses back to Nairobi for fear of the tsetse fly, so we
could not see out above the corn. All we knew was that we ought
to go down hill.

At the ends of some of our false trails we came upon fascinating
little settlements: groups of houses inside brush enclosures,
with low wooden gateways beneath which we had to stoop to enter.
Within were groups of beehive houses with small naked children
and perhaps an old woman or old man seated cross-legged under a
sort of veranda. From them we obtained new-and confusing-

After three o'clock we came finally out on the edge of a cliff
fifty or sixty feet high, below which lay uncultivated bottom
lands like a great meadow and a little meandering stream. We
descended the cliff, and camped by the meandering stream.

By this time we were fairly tired from long walking in the heat,
and so were content to sit down under our tent-fly before our
little table, and let Mahomet bring us sparklets and lime juice.
Before us was the flat of a meadow below the cliffs and the
cliffs themselves. Just below the rise lay a single patch of
standing rape not over two acres in extent, the only sign of
human life. It was as though this little bit had overflowed from
the countless millions on the plateau above. Beyond it arose a
thin signal of smoke.

We sipped our lime juice and rested. Soon our attention was
attracted by the peculiar actions of a big flock of very white
birds. They rose suddenly from one side of the tiny rape field,
wheeled and swirled like leaves in the wind, and dropped down
suddenly on the other side the patch. After a few moments they
repeated the performance. The sun caught the dazzling white of
their plumage. At first we speculated on what they might be, then
on what they were doing, to behave in so peculiar a manner. The
lime juice and the armchair began to get in their recuperative
work. Somehow the distance across that flat did not seem quite as
tremendous as at first. Finally I picked up the shotgun and
sauntered across to investigate. The cause of action I soon
determined. The owner of that rape field turned out to be an
emaciated, gray-haired but spry old savage. He was armed with a
spear; and at the moment his chief business in life seemed to be
chasing a large flock of white birds off his grain. Since he had
no assistance, and since the birds held his spear in justifiable
contempt as a fowling piece, he was getting much exercise and few
results. The birds gave way before his direct charge, flopped
over to the other side, and continued their meal. They had
already occasioned considerable damage; the rape heads were bent
and destroyed for a space of perhaps ten feet from the outer edge
of the field. As this grain probably constituted the old man's food supply
for a season, I did not wonder at the vehemence with which he shook
his spear at his enemies, nor the apparent flavour of his language,
though I did marvel at his physical endurance. As for the birds,
they had become cynical and impudent; they barely fluttered out
of the way.

I halted the old gentleman and hastened to explain that I was
neither a pirate, a robber, nor an oppressor of the poor. This as
counter-check to his tendency to flee, leaving me in sole charge.
He understood a little Swahili, and talked a few words of
something he intended for that language. By means of our mutual
accomplishment in that tongue, and through a more efficient sign
language, I got him to understand the plan of campaign. It was
very simple. I squatted down inside the rape, while he went
around the other side to scare them up.

The white birds uttered their peculiarly derisive cackle at the
old man and flapped over to my side. Then they were certainly an
astonished lot of birds. I gave them both barrels and dropped a
pair; got two more shots as they swung over me and dropped
another pair, and brought down a straggling single as a grand
finale. The flock, with shrill, derogatory remarks, flew in an
airline straight away. They never deviated, as far as I could
follow them with the eye. Even after they had apparently
disappeared, I could catch an occasional flash of white in the

Now the old gentleman came whooping around with long, undignified
bounds to fall on his face and seize my foot in an excess of
gratitude. He rose and capered about, he rushed out and gathered
in the slain one by one and laid them in a pile at my feet. Then
he danced a jig-step around them and reviled them, and fell on
his face once more, repeating the word "Bwana! bwana! bwana!"
over and over-"Master! master! master!" We returned to camp
together, the old gentleman carrying the birds, and capering
about like a small boy, pouring forth a flood of his sort of
Swahili, of which I could understand only a word here and there.
Memba Sasa, very dignified and scornful of such performances, met
us halfway and took my gun. He seemed to be able to understand
the old fellow's brand of Swahili, and said it over again in a
brand I could understand. From it I gathered that I was called a
marvellously great sultan, a protector of the poor, and other
Arabian Nights titles.

The birds proved to be white egrets. Now at home I am strongly
against the killing of these creatures, and have so expressed
myself on many occasions. But, looking from the beautiful white
plumage of these villainous mauraders, to the wrinkled countenance
of the grateful weary old savage, I could not fan a spark of
regret. And from the straight line of their retreating flight I
like to think that the rest of the flock never came back, but
took their toll from the wider fields of the plateau above.

Next day we reentered the game-haunted wilderness, nor did we see
any more native villages until many weeks later we came into the
country of the Wakamba.


Our first sight of the Tana River was from the top of a bluff. It
flowed below us a hundred feet, bending at a sharp elbow against
the cliff on which we stood. Out of the jungle it crept
sluggishly and into the jungle it crept again, brown, slow,
viscid, suggestive of the fevers and the lurking beasts by which,
indeed, it was haunted. From our elevation we could follow its
course by the jungle that grew along its banks. At first this was
intermittent, leaving thin or even open spaces at intervals, but
lower down it extended away unbroken and very tall. The trees
were many of them beginning to come into flower.

Either side of the jungle were rolling hills. Those to the left made
up to the tremendous slopes of Kenia. Those to the right ended
finally in a low broken range many miles away called the Ithanga
Hills. The country gave one the impression of being clothed with
small trees; although here and there this growth gave space to
wide grassy plains. Later we discovered that the forest was more
apparent than real. The small trees, even where continuous, were
sparse enough to permit free walking in all directions, and open
enough to allow clear sight for a hundred yards or so.
Furthermore, the shallow wide valleys between the hills were
almost invariably treeless and grown to very high thick grass.

Thus the course of the Tana possessed advantages to such as we.
By following in general the course of the stream we were always
certain of wood and water. The river itself was full of fish-not
to speak of hundreds of crocodiles and hippopotamuses. The thick
river jungle gave cover to such animals as the bushbuck, leopard,
the beautiful colobus, some of the tiny antelope, waterbuck,
buffalo and rhinoceros. Among the thorn and acacia trees of the
hillsides one was certain of impalla, eland, diks-diks, and
giraffes. In the grass bottoms were lions, rhinoceroses, a half
dozen varieties of buck, and thousands and thousands of game
birds such as guinea fowl and grouse. On the plains fed zebra,
hartebeeste, wart-hog, ostriches, and several species of the
smaller antelope. As a sportsman's paradise this region would be
hard to beat.

We were now afoot. The dreaded tsetse fly abounded here, and we
had sent our horses in via Fort Hall. F. had accompanied them,
and hoped to rejoin us in a few days or weeks with tougher and
less valuable mules. Pending his return we moved on leisurely,
camping long at one spot, marching short days, searching the
country far and near for the special trophies of which we stood
in need.

It was great fun. Generally we hunted each in his own direction
and according to his own ideas. The jungle along the river, while
not the most prolific in trophies, was by all odds the most
interesting. It was very dense, very hot, and very shady. Often a
thorn thicket would fling itself from the hills right across to
the water's edge, absolutely and hopelessly impenetrable save by
way of the rhinoceros tracks. Along these then we would slip,
bent double, very quietly and gingerly, keeping a sharp lookout
for the rightful owners of the trail. Again we would wander among
lofty trees through the tops of which the sun flickered on
festooned serpentlike vines. Every once in a while we managed a
glimpse of the sullen oily river through the dense leaf screen on
its banks. The water looked thick as syrup, of a deadly menacing
green. Sometimes we saw a loathsome crocodile lying with his nose
just out of water, or heard the snorting blow of a hippopotamus
coming up for air. Then the thicket forced us inland again. We
stepped very slowly, very alertly, our ears cocked for the
faintest sound, our eyes roving. Generally, of course, the
creatures of the jungle saw us first. We became aware of them by
a crash or a rustling or a scamper. Then we stood stock listening
with all our ears for some sound distinguishing to the species. Thus I
came to recognize the queer barking note of the bushbuck, for
example, and to realize how profane and vulgar that and the beautiful
creature, the impalla, can be when he forgets himself. As for the
rhinoceros, he does not care how much noise he makes, nor how
badly he scares you.

Personally, I liked very well to circle out in the more open
country until about three o'clock, then to enter the river jungle
and work my way slowly back toward camp. At that time of day the
shadows were lengthening, the birds and animals were beginning to
stir about. In the cooling nether world of shadow we slipped
silently from thicket to thicket, from tree to tree; and the
jungle people fled from us, or withdrew, or gazed curiously, or
cursed us as their dispositions varied.

While thus returning one evening I saw my first colobus. He was
swinging rapidly from one tree to another, his long black and
white fur shining against the sun. I wanted him very much, and
promptly let drive at him with the 405 Winchester. I always
carried this heavier weapon in the dense jungle. Of course I
missed him, but the roar of the shot so surprised him that he
came to a stand. Memba Sasa passed me the Springfield, and I
managed to get him in the head. At the shot another flashed into
view, high up in the top of a tree. Again I aimed and fired. The
beast let go and fell like a plummet. "Good shot," said I to
myself. Fifty feet down the colobus seized a limb and went
skipping away through the branches as lively as ever. In a moment
he stopped to look back, and by good luck I landed him through
the body. When we retrieved him we found that the first shot had
not hit him at all!

At the time I thought he must have been frightened into falling;
but many subsequent experiences showed me that this sheer
let-go-all-holds drop is characteristic of the colobus and his
mode of progression. He rarely, as far as my observation goes,
leaps out and across as do the ordinary monkeys, but prefers to
progress by a series of slanting ascents followed by
breath-taking straight drops to lower levels. When closely
pressed from beneath, he will go as high as he can, and will then
conceal himself in the thick leaves.

B. and I procured our desired number of colobus by taking
advantage of this habit-as soon as we had learned it. Shooting
the beasts with our rifles we soon found to be not only very
difficult, but also destructive of the skins. On the other hand,
a man could not, save by sheer good fortune, rely on stalking
near enough to use a shotgun. Therefore we evolved a method
productive of the maximum noise, row, barked shins, thorn wounds,
tumbles, bruises-and colobus! It was very simple. We took about
twenty boys into the jungle with us, and as soon as we caught
sight of a colobus we chased him madly. That was all there was to

And yet this method, simple apparently to the point of
imbecility, had considerable logic back of it after all; for
after a time somebody managed to get underneath that colobus when
he was at the top of a tree. Then the beast would hide.

Consider then a tumbling riotous mob careering through the jungle
as fast as the jungle would let it, slipping, stumbling, falling
flat, getting tangled hopelessly, disentangling with profane
remarks, falling behind and catching up again, everybody yelling
and shrieking. Ahead of us we caught glimpses of the sleek
bounding black and white creature, running up the long slanting
limbs, and dropping like a plummet into the lower branches of the
next tree. We white men never could keep up with the best of our
men at this sort of work, although in the open country I could
hold them well enough. We could see them dashing through the
thick cover at a great rate of speed far ahead of us. After an
interval came a great shout in chorus. By this we knew that the
quarry had been definitely brought to a stand. Arriving at the
spot we craned our heads backward, and proceeded to get a crick
in the neck trying to make out invisible colobus in the very tops
of the trees above us. For gaudily marked beasts the colobus were
extraordinarily difficult to see. This was in no sense owing to
any far-fetched application of protective colouration; but to the
remarkable skill the animals possessed in concealing themselves
behind apparently the scantiest and most inadequate cover.
Fortunately for us our boys' ability to see them was equally
remarkable. Indeed, the most difficult part of their task was to
point the game out to us. We squinted, and changed position, and
tried hard to follow directions eagerly proffered by a dozen of
the men. Finally one of us would, by the aid of six
power-glasses, make out, or guess at a small tuft of white or
black hair showing beyond the concealment of a bunch of leaves.
We would unlimber the shotgun and send a charge of BB into that
bunch. Then down would plump the game, to the huge and vociferous
delight of all the boys. Or, as occasionally happened, the shot
was followed merely by a shower of leaves and a chorus of
expostulations indicating that we had mistaken the place, and had
fired into empty air.

In this manner we gathered the twelve we required between us. At
noon we sat under the bank, with the tangled roots of trees above
us, and the smooth oily river slipping by. You may be sure we
always selected a spot protected by very shoal water, for the
crocodiles were numerous. I always shot these loathsome creatures
whenever I got a chance, whenever the sound of a shot would not
alarm more valuable game. Generally they were to be seen in
midstream, just the tip of their snouts above water, and
extraordinarily like anything but crocodiles. Often it took
several close scrutinies through the glass to determine the
brutes. This required rather nice shooting. More rarely we
managed to see them on the banks, or only half submerged. In this
position, too, they were all but undistinguishable as living
creatures. I think this is perhaps because of their complete
immobility. The creatures of the woods, standing quite still, are
difficult enough to see; but I have a notion that the eye,
unknown to itself, catches the sum total of little flexings of
the muscles, movements of the skin, winkings, even the play of
wind and light in the hair of the coat, all of which, while
impossible of analysis, together relieve the appearance of dead
inertia. The vitality of a creature like the crocodile, however,
seems to have withdrawn into the inner recesses of its being. It
lies like a log of wood, and for a log of wood it is mistaken.

Nevertheless the crocodile has stored in it somewhere a fearful
vitality. The swiftness of its movements when seizing prey is
most astonishing; a swirl of water, the sweep of a powerful tail,
and the unfortunate victim has disappeared. For this reason it is
especially dangerous to approach the actual edge of any of the
great rivers, unless the water is so shallow that the crocodile
could not possibly approach under cover, as is its cheerful
habit. We had considerable difficulty in impressing this
elementary truth on our hill-bred totos until one day, hearing
wild shrieks from the direction of the river, I rushed down to
find the lot huddled together in the very middle of a sand spit
that-reached well out into the stream. Inquiry developed that
while paddling in the shallows they had been surprised by the
sudden appearance of an ugly snout and well drenched by the sweep
of an eager tail. The stroke fortunately missed. We stilled the
tumult, sat down quietly to wait, and at the end of ten minutes
had the satisfaction of abating that croc.

Generally we killed the brutes where we found them and allowed
them to drift away with the current. Occasionally however we
wanted a piece of hide, and then tried to retrieve them. One such
occasion showed very vividly the tenacity of life and the
primitive nervous systems of these great saurians.

I discovered the beast, head out of water, in a reasonable sized
pool below which were shallow rapids. My Springfield bullet hit
him fair, whereupon he stood square on his head and waved his tail
in the air, rolled over three or four times, thrashed the water,
and disappeared. After waiting a while we moved on downstream.
Returning four hours later I sneaked up quietly. There the
crocodile lay sunning himself on the sand bank. I supposed he
must be dead; but when I accidentally broke a twig, he
immediately commenced to slide off into the water. Thereupon I
stopped him with a bullet in the spine. The first shot had
smashed a hole in his head, just behind the eye, about the size
of an ordinary coffee cup. In spite of this wound, which would
have been instantly fatal to any warm-blooded animal, the
creature was so little affected that it actually reacted to a
slight noise made at some distance from where it lay. Of course
the wound would probably have been fatal in the long run.

The best spot to shoot at, indeed, is not the head but the spine
immediately back of the head.

These brutes are exceedingly powerful. They are capable of taking
down horses and cattle, with no particular effort. This I know
from my own observation. Mr. Fleischman, however, was privileged
to see the wonderful sight of the capture and destruction of a
full-grown rhinoceros by a crocodile. The photographs he took of
this most extraordinary affair leave no room for doubt. Crossing
a stream was always a matter of concern to us. The boys beat the
surface of the water vigorously with their safari sticks. On
occasion we have even let loose a few heavy bullets to stir up
the pool before venturing in.

A steep climb through thorn and brush would always extricate us
from the river jungle when we became tired of it. Then we found
ourselves in a continuous but scattered growth of small trees.
Between the trunks of these we could see for a hundred yards or
so before their numbers closed in the view. Here was the
favourite haunt of numerous beautiful impalla. We caught glimpses
of them, flashing through the trees; or occasionally standing,
gazing in our direction, their slender necks stretched high,
their ears pointed for us. These curious ones were generally the
does. The bucks were either more cautious or less inquisitive. A
herd or so of eland also liked this covered country; and there were
always a few waterbuck and rhinoceroses about. Often too we here
encountered stragglers from the open plains-zebra or
hartebeeste, very alert and suspicious in unaccustomed

A great deal of the plains country had been burned over; and a
considerable area was still afire. The low bright flames licked
their way slowly through the grass in a narrow irregular band
extending sometimes for miles. Behind it was blackened soil, and
above it rolled dense clouds of smoke. Always accompanied it
thousands of birds wheeling and dashing frantically in and out of
the murk, often fairly at the flames themselves. The published
writings of a certain worthy and sentimental person waste much
sympathy over these poor birds dashing frenziedly about above
their destroyed nests. As a matter of fact they are taking greedy
advantage of a most excellent opportunity to get insects cheap.
Thousands of the common red-billed European storks patrolled the
grass just in front of the advancing flames, or wheeled barely
above the fire. Grasshoppers were their main object, although
apparently they never objected to any small mammals or reptiles
that came their way. Far overhead wheeled a few thousand more
assorted soarers who either had no appetite or had satisfied it.

The utter indifference of the animals to the advance of a big
conflagration always impressed me. One naturally pictures the
beasts as fleeing wildly, nostrils distended, before the
devouring element. On the contrary I have seen kongoni grazing
quite peacefully with flames on three sides of them. The fire
seems to travel rather slowly in the tough grass; although at
times and for a short distance it will leap to a wild and roaring
life. Beasts will then lope rapidly away to right or left, but
without excitement.

On these open plains we were more or less pestered with ticks of
various sizes. These clung to the grass blades; but with no
invincible preference for that habitat; trousers did them just as
well. Then they ascended looking for openings. They ranged in
size from little red ones as small as the period of a printed
page to big patterned fellows the size of a pea. The little ones
were much the most abundant. At times I have had the front of my
breeches so covered with them that their numbers actually
imparted a reddish tinge to the surface of the cloth. This sounds
like exaggeration, but it is a measured statement. The process of
de-ticking (new and valuable word) can then be done only by
scraping with the back of a hunting knife.

Some people, of tender skin, are driven nearly frantic by these
pests. Others, of whom I am thankful to say I am one, get off
comparatively easy. In a particularly bad tick country, one
generally appoints one of the youngsters as "tick toto." It is
then his job in life to de-tick any person or domestic animal
requiring his services. His is a busy existence. But though at
first the nuisance is excessive, one becomes accustomed to it in
a remarkably short space of time. The adaptability of the human
being is nowhere better exemplified. After a time one gets so
that at night he can remove a marauding tick and cast it forth
into the darkness without even waking up. Fortunately ticks are
local in distribution. Often one may travel weeks or months
without this infliction.

I was always interested and impressed to observe how indifferent
the wild animals seem to be to these insects. Zebra, rhinoceros
and giraffe seem to be especially good hosts. The loathsome
creatures fasten themselves in clusters wherever they can grip
their fangs. Thus in a tick country a zebra's ears, the lids and
corners of his eyes, his nostrils and lips, the soft skin between
his legs and body, and between his hind legs, and under his tail
are always crusted with ticks as thick as they can cling. One
would think the drain on vitality would be enormous, but the
animals are always plump and in condition. The same state of
affairs obtains with the other two beasts named. The hartebeeste
also carries ticks but not nearly in the same abundance; while
such creatures as the waterbuck, impalla, gazelles and the
smaller bucks seem either to be absolutely free from the pests,
or to have a very few. Whether this is because such animals take
the trouble to rid themselves, or because they are more immune
from attack it would be difficult to say. I have found ticks
clinging to the hair of lions, but never fastened to the flesh.
It is probable that they had been brushed off from the grass in
passing. Perhaps ticks do not like lions, waterbuck, Tommies, et
al., or perhaps only big coarse-grained common brutes like zebra
and rhinos will stand them at all.


Late one afternoon I shot a wart-hog in the tall grass. The beast
was an unusually fine specimen, so I instructed Fundi and the
porters to take the head, and myself started for camp with Memba
Sasa. I had gone not over a hundred yards when I was recalled by
wild and agonized appeals of "Bwana! bwana!" The long-legged
Fundi was repeatedly leaping straight up in the air to an
astonishing height above the long grass, curling his legs up
under him at each jump, and yelling like a steam-engine.
Returning promptly, I found that the wart-hog had come to life at
the first prick of the knife. He was engaged in charging back and
forth in an earnest effort to tusk Fundi, and the latter was
jumping high in an equally earnest effort to keep out of the way.
Fortunately he proved agile enough to do so until I planted
another bullet in the aggressor.

These wart-hogs are most comical brutes from whatever angle one
views them. They have a patriarchal, self-satisfied, suburban
manner of complete importance. The old gentleman bosses his harem
outrageously, and each and every member of the tribe walks about
with short steps and a stuffy parvenu small-town
self-sufficiency. One is quite certain that it is only by
accident that they have long tusks and live in Africa, instead of
rubber-plants and self-made business and a pug-dog within
commuters' distance of New York. But at the slightest alarm this
swollen and puffy importance breaks down completely. Away they
scurry, their tails held stiffly and straightly perpendicular,
their short legs scrabbling the small stones in a frantic effort
to go faster than nature had intended them to go. Nor do they
cease their flight at a reasonable distance, but keep on going
over hill and dale, until they fairly vanish in the blue. I used
to like starting them off this way, just for the sake of
contrast, and also for the sake of the delicious but impossible
vision of seeing their human prototypes do likewise.

When a wart-hog is at home, he lives down a hole. Of course it
has to be a particularly large hole. He turns around and backs
down it. No more peculiar sight can be imagined than the
sardonically toothsome countenance of a wart-hog fading slowly in
the dimness of a deep burrow, a good deal like Alice's Cheshire
Cat. Firing a revolver, preferably with smoky black powder, just
in front of the hole annoys the wart-hog exceedingly. Out he
comes full tilt, bent on damaging some one, and it takes quick
shooting to prevent his doing so.

Once, many hundreds of miles south of the Tana, and many months
later, we were riding quite peaceably through the country, when
we were startled by the sound of a deep and continuous roaring in
a small brush patch to our left. We advanced cautiously to a
prospective lion, only to discover that the roaring proceeded
from the depths of a wart-hog burrow. The reverberation of our
footsteps on the hollow ground had alarmed him. He was a very
nervous wart-hog.

On another occasion, when returning to camp from a solitary walk,
I saw two wart-hogs before they saw me. I made no attempt to
conceal myself, but stood absolutely motionless. They fed slowly
nearer and nearer until at last they were not over twenty yards
away. When finally they made me out, their indignation and
amazement and utter incredulity were very funny. In fact, they
did not believe in me at all for some few snorty moments. Finally
they departed, their absurd tails stiff upright.

One afternoon F. and I, hunting along one of the wide grass
bottom lands, caught sight of a herd of an especially fine
impalla. The animals were feeding about fifty yards the other
side of a small solitary bush, and the bush grew on the sloping
bank of the slight depression that represented the dry stream
bottom. We could duck down into the depression, sneak along it,
come up back of the little bush, and shoot from very close range.
Leaving the gunbearers, we proceeded to do this.

So quietly did we move that when we rose up back of the little
bush a lioness lying under it with her cub was as surprised as we

Indeed, I do not think she knew what we were, for instead of
attacking, she leaped out the other side the bush, uttering a
startled snarl. At once she whirled to come at us, but the brief
respite had allowed us to recover our own scattered wits. As she
turned I caught her broadside through the heart. Although this
shot knocked her down, F. immediately followed it with another
for safety's sake. We found that actually we had just missed
stepping on her tail!

The cub we caught a glimpse of. He was about the size of a setter
dog. We tried hard to find him, but failed. The lioness was an
unusually large one, probably about as big as the female ever
grows, measuring nine feet six inches in length, and three feet
eight inches tail at the shoulder.

Billy had her funny times housekeeping. The kitchen department
never quite ceased marvelling at her. Whenever she went to the
cook-camp to deliver her orders she was surrounded by an
attentive and respectful audience. One day, after holding forth
for some time in Swahili, she found that she had been standing
hobnailed on one of the boy's feet.

"Why, Mahomet!" she cried. "That must hurt you! Why didn't you
tell me?"

"Memsahib," he smiled politely, "I think perhaps you move some

On another occasion she was trying to tell the cook, through
Mahomet as interpreter, that she wanted a tough old buffalo steak
pounded, boarding-house style. This evidently puzzled all hands.
They turned to in an earnest discussion of what it was all about,
anyway. Billy understood Swahili well enough at that time to
gather that they could not understand the Memsahib's wanting the
meat "kibokoed"-FLOGGED. Was it a religious rite, or a piece of
revenge? They gave it up.

"All right," said Mahomet patiently at last. "He say he do it.

Part of our supplies comprised tins of dehydrated fruit. One
evening Billy decided to have a grand celebration, so she passed
out a tin marked "rhubarb" and some cornstarch, together with
suitable instructions for a fruit pudding. In a little while the
cook returned.

"Nataka m'tund-I want fruit," said he.

Billy pointed out, severely, that he already had fruit. He went
away shaking his head. Evening and the pudding came. It looked
good, and we congratulated Billy on her culinary enterprise.
Being hungry, we took big mouthfuls. There followed splutterings
and investigations. The rhubarb can proved to be an old one
containing heavy gun grease!

When finally we parted with our faithful cook we bought him a
really wonderful many bladed knife as a present. On seeing it he
slumped to the ground-six feet of lofty dignity-and began to
weep violently, rocking back and forth in an excess of grief.

"Why, what is it?" we inquired, alarmed.

"Oh, Memsahib!" he wailed, the tears coursing down his cheeks, "I
wanted a watch!"

One morning about nine o'clock we were riding along at the edge of
a grass-grown savannah, with a low hill to our right and another
about four hundred yards ahead. Suddenly two rhinoceroses came to
their feet some fifty yards to our left out in the high grass,
and stood looking uncertainly in our direction.

"Look out! Rhinos!" I warned instantly.

"Why-why!" gasped Billy in an astonished tone of voice, "they
have manes!"

In some concern for her sanity I glanced in her direction. She
was staring, not to her left, but straight ahead. I followed the
direction of her gaze, to see three lions moving across the face
of the hill.

Instantly we dropped off our horses. We wanted a shot at those
lions very much indeed, but were hampered in our efforts by the
two rhinoceroses, now stamping, snorting, and moving slowly in
our direction. The language we muttered was racy, but we dropped
to a kneeling position and opened fire on the disappearing lions.
It was most distinctly a case of divided attention, one eye on
those menacing rhinos, and one trying to attend to the always
delicate operation of aligning sights and signalling from a
rather distracted brain just when to pull the trigger. Our
faithful gunbearers crouched by us, the heavy guns ready.

One rhino seemed either peaceable or stupid. He showed no
inclination either to attack or to depart, but was willing to
back whatever play his friend might decide on. The friend charged
toward us until we began to think he meant battle, stopped,
thought a moment, and then, followed by his companion, trotted
slowly across our bows about eighty yards away, while we
continued our long range practice at the lions over their backs.

In this we were not winning many cigars. F. had a 280-calibre
rifle shooting the Ross cartridge through the much advertised
grooveless oval bore. It was little accurate beyond a hundred
yards. Memba Sasa had thrust the 405 into my hand, knowing it for
the "lion gun," and kept just out of reach with the long-range
Springfield. I had no time to argue the matter with him. The 405
has a trajectory like a rainbow at that distance, and I was
guessing at it, and not making very good guesses either. B. had
his Springfield and made closer practice, finally hitting a leg
of one of the beasts. We saw him lift his paw and shake it, but
he did not move lamely afterward, so the damage was probably
confined to a simple scrape. It was a good shot anyway. Then they
disappeared over the top of the hill.

We walked forward, regretting rhinos. Thirty yards ahead of me
came a thunderous and roaring growl, and a magnificent old lion
reared his head from a low bush. He evidently intended mischief,
for I could see his tail switching. However, B. had killed only
one lion and I wanted very much to give him the shot. Therefore,
I held the front sight on the middle of his chest, and uttered a
fervent wish to myself that B. would hurry up. In about ten
seconds the muzzle of his rifle poked over my shoulder, so I
resigned the job.

At B.'s shot the lion fell over, but was immediately up and
trying to get at us. Then we saw that his hind quarters were
paralyzed. He was a most magnificent sight as he reared his fine
old head, roaring at us full mouthed so that the very air
trembled. Billy had a good look at a lion in action. B. took up a
commanding position on an ant hill to one side with his rifle
levelled. F. and I advanced slowly side by side. At twelve feet
from the wounded beast stopped, F. unlimbered the kodak, while I
held the bead of the 405 between the lion's eyes, ready to press
trigger at the first forward movement, however slight. Thus we
took several exposures in the two cameras. Unfortunately one of
the cameras fell in the river the next day. The other contained
but one exposure. While not so spectacular as some of those
spoiled, it shows very well the erect mane, he wicked narrowing
of the eyes, the flattening of the ears of an angry lion. You
must imagine, furthermore, the deep rumbling diapason of his

We backed away, and B. put in the finishing shot. The first
bullet, we then found, had penetrated the kidneys, thus
inflicting a temporary paralysis.

When we came to skin him we found an old-fashioned lead bullet
between the bones of his right forepaw. The entrance wound had so
entirely healed over that hardly the trace of a scar remained.
>From what I know of the character of these beasts, I have no
doubt that this ancient injury furnished the reason for his
staying to attack us instead of departing with the other three
lions over the hill.

Following the course of the river, we one afternoon came around a
bend on a huge herd of mixed game that had been down to water.
The river, a quite impassable barrier lay to our right, and an
equally impassable precipitous ravine barred their flight ahead.
They were forced to cross our front, quite close, within the
hundred yards. We stopped to watch them go, a seemingly endless
file of them, some very much frightened, bounding spasmodically
as though stung; others more philosophical, loping easily and
unconcernedly; still others to a few-even stopping for a moment to
get a good view of us. The very young creatures, as always,
bounced along absolutely stiff-legged, exactly like wooden
animals suspended by an elastic, touching the ground and
rebounding high, without a bend of the knee nor an apparent
effort of the muscles. Young animals seem to have to learn how to
bend their legs for the most efficient travel. The same is true
of human babies as well. In this herd were, we estimated, some
four or five hundred beasts.

While hunting near the foothills I came across the body of a
large eagle suspended by one leg from the crotch of a limb. The
bird's talon had missed its grip, probably on alighting, the
tarsus had slipped through the crotch beyond the joint, the eagle
had fallen forward, and had never been able to flop itself back
to an upright position!


The rhinoceros is, with the giraffe, the hippopotamus, the
gerenuk, and the camel, one of Africa's unbelievable animals.
Nobody has bettered Kipling's description of him in the Just-so
Stories: "A horn on his nose, piggy eyes, and few manners." He
lives a self-centred life, wrapped up in the porcine contentment
that broods within nor looks abroad over the land. When anything
external to himself and his food and drink penetrates to his
intelligence he makes a flurried fool of himself, rushing madly
and frantically here and there in a hysterical effort either to
destroy or get away from the cause of disturbance. He is the
incarnation of a living and perpetual Grouch.

Generally he lives by himself, sometimes with his spouse, more
rarely still with a third that is probably a grown-up son or
daughter. I personally have never seen more than three in
company. Some observers have reported larger bands, or rather
collections, but, lacking other evidence, I should be inclined to
suspect that some circumstances of food or water rather than a
sense of gregariousness had attracted a number of individuals to
one locality.

The rhinoceros has three objects in life: to fill his stomach
with food and water, to stand absolutely motionless under a bush,
and to imitate ant hills when he lies down in the tall grass.
When disturbed at any of these occupations he snorts. The snort
sounds exactly as though the safety valve of a locomotive had
suddenly opened and as suddenly shut again after two seconds of
escaping steam. Then he puts his head down and rushes madly in
some direction, generally upwind. As he weighs about two tons,
and can, in spite of his appearance, get over the ground nearly
as fast as an ordinary horse, he is a truly imposing sight,
especially since the innocent bystander generally happens to be
upwind, and hence in the general path of progress. This is
because the rhino's scent is his keenest sense, and through it he
becomes aware, in the majority of times, of man's presence. His
sight is very poor indeed; he cannot see clearly even a moving
object much beyond fifty yards. He can, however, hear pretty

The novice, then, is subjected to what he calls a "vicious
charge" on the part of the rhinoceros, merely because his scent
was borne to the beast from upwind, and the rhino naturally runs
away upwind. He opens fire, and has another thrilling adventure
to relate. As a matter of fact, if he had approached from the
other side, and then aroused the animal with a clod of earth, the
beast would probably have "charged" away in identically the same
direction. I am convinced from a fairly varied experience that
this is the basis for most of the thrilling experiences with

But whatever the beast's first mental attitude, the danger is
quite real. In the beginning he rushes, upwind in instinctive
reaction against the strange scent. If he catches sight of the
man at all, it must be after he has approached to pretty close
range, for only at close range are the rhino's eyes effective.
Then he is quite likely to finish what was at first a blind dash
by a genuine charge. Whether this is from malice or from the
panicky feeling that he is now too close to attempt to get away,
I never was able determine. It is probably in the majority of
cases the latter. This seems indicated by the fact that the
rhino, if avoided in his first rush, will generally charge right
through and keep on going. Occasionally, however, he will whirl
and come back to the attack. There can then be no doubt that he
actually intends mischief.

Nor must it be forgotten that with these animals, AS WITH ALL
OTHERS, not enough account is taken of individual variation.
They, as well as man, and as well as other animals, have their
cowards, their fighters, their slothful and their enterprising.
And, too, there seem to be truculent and peaceful districts.
North of Mt. Kenia, between that peak and the Northern Guaso
Nyero River, we saw many rhinos, none of which showed the
slightest disposition to turn ugly. In fact, they were so
peaceful that they scrabbled off as fast as they could go every
time they either scented, heard, or SAW us; and in their flight
they held their noses up, not down. In the wide angle between the
Tana and Thika rivers, and comprising the Yatta Plains, and in
the thickets of the Tsavo, the rhinoceroses generally ran nose
down in a position of attack and were much inclined to let their
angry passions master them at the sight of man. Thus we never had
our safari scattered by rhinoceroses in the former district,
while in the latter the boys were up trees six times in the
course of one morning! Carl Akeley, with a moving picture
machine, could not tease a charge out of a rhino in a dozen
tries, while Dugmore, in a different part of the country, was so
chivied about that he finally left the district to avoid killing
any more of the brutes in self-defence!

The fact of the matter is that the rhinoceros is neither animated
by the implacable man-destroying passion ascribed to him by the
amateur hunter, nor is he so purposeless and haphazard in his
rushes as some would have us believe. On being disturbed his
instinct is to get away. He generally tries to get away in the
direction of the disturbance, or upwind, as the case may be. If
he catches sight of the cause of disturbance he is apt to try to
trample and gore it, whatever it is. As his sight is short, he
will sometimes so inflict punishment on unoffending bushes. In
doing this he is probably not animated by a consuming destructive
blind rage, but by a naturally pugnacious desire to eliminate
sources of annoyance. Missing a definite object, he thunders
right through and disappears without trying again to discover
what has aroused him.

This first rush is not a charge in the sense that it is an attack
on a definite object. It may not, and probably will not, amount
to a charge at all, for the beast will blunder through without
ever defining more clearly the object of his blind dash. That
dash is likely, however, at any moment, to turn into a definite
charge should the rhinoceros happen to catch sight of his
disturber. Whether the impelling motive would then be a mistaken
notion that on the part of the beast he was so close he had to
fight, or just plain malice, would not matter. At such times the
intended victim is not interested in the rhino's mental

Owing to his size, his powerful armament, and his incredible
quickness the rhinoceros is a dangerous animal at all times, to
be treated with respect and due caution. This is proved by the
number of white men, out of a sparse population, that are
annually tossed and killed by the brutes, and by the promptness
with which the natives take to trees-thorn trees at that!-when
the cry of faru! is raised. As he comes rushing in your
direction, head down and long weapon pointed, tail rigidly erect,
ears up, the earth trembling with his tread and the air with his
snorts, you suddenly feel very small and ineffective.

If you keep cool, however, it is probable that the encounter will
result only in a lot of mental perturbation for the rhino and a
bit of excitement for yourself. If there is any cover you should
duck down behind it and move rapidly but quietly to one side or
another of the line of advance. If there is no cover, you should
crouch low and hold still. The chances are he will pass to one
side or the other of you, and go snorting away into the distance.
Keep your eye on him very closely. If he swerves definitely in
your direction, AND DROPS HIS HEAD A LITTLE LOWER, it would be
just as well to open fire. Provided the beast was still far
enough away to give me "sea-room," I used to put a small bullet
in the flesh of the outer part of the shoulder. The wound thus
inflicted was not at all serious, but the shock of the bullet
usually turned the beast. This was generally in the direction of
the wounded shoulder, which would indicate that the brute turned
toward the apparent source of the attack, probably for the
purpose of getting even. At any rate, the shot turned the rush to
one side, and the rhinoceros, as usual, went right on through.
If, however, he seemed to mean business, or was too close for
comfort, the point to aim for was the neck just above the lowered

In my own experience I came to establish a "dead line" about
twenty yards from myself. That seemed to be as near as I cared to
let the brutes come. Up to that point I let them alone on the
chance that they might swerve or change their minds, as they
often did. But inside of twenty yards, whether the rhinoceros
meant to charge me, or was merely running blindly by, did not
particularly matter. Even in the latter case he might happen to
catch sight of me and change his mind. Thus, looking over my
notebook records, I find that I was "charged" forty odd
times-that is to say, the rhinoceros rushed in my general
direction. Of this lot I can be sure of but three, and possibly
four, that certainly meant mischief. Six more came so directly at
us, and continued so to come, that in spite of ourselves we were
compelled to kill them. The rest were successfully dodged.

As I have heard old hunters of many times my experience, affirm
that only in a few instances have they themselves been charged
indubitably and with malice aforethought, it might be well to
detail my reasons for believing myself definitely and not blindly

The first instance was that when B. killed his second trophy
rhinoceros. The beast's companion refused to leave the dead body
for a long time, but finally withdrew. On our approaching,
however, and after we had been some moments occupied with the
trophy, it returned and charged viciously. It was finally killed
at fifteen yards.

The second instance was of a rhinoceros that got up from the
grass sixty yards away, and came headlong in my direction. At the
moment I was standing on the edge of a narrow eroded ravine, ten
feet deep, with perpendicular sides. The rhinoceros came on
bravely to the edge of this ravine-and stopped. Then he gave an
exhibition of unmitigated bad temper most amusing to
contemplate-from my safe position. He snorted, and stamped, and
pawed the earth, and tramped up and down at a great rate. I sat on
the opposite bank and laughed at him. This did not please him a
bit, but after many short rushes to the edge of the ravine, he
gave it up and departed slowly, his tail very erect and rigid.
>From the persistency with which he tried to get at me, I cannot
but think he intended something of the sort from the first.

The third instance was much more aggravating. In company with
Memba Sasa and Fundi I left camp early one morning to get a
waterbuck. Four or five hundred yards out, however, we came on
fresh buffalo signs, not an hour old. To one who knew anything of
buffaloes' habits this seemed like an excellent chance, for at
this time of the morning they should be feeding not far away
preparatory to seeking cover for the day. Therefore we
immediately took up the trail.

It led us over hills, through valleys, high grass, burned
country, brush, thin scrub, and small woodland alternately.
Unfortunately we had happened on these buffalo just as they were
about changing district, and they were therefore travelling
steadily. At times the trail was easy to follow and at other
times we had to cast about very diligently to find traces of the
direction even such huge animals had taken. It was interesting
work, however, and we drew on steadily, keeping a sharp lookout
ahead in case the buffalo had come to a halt in some shady
thicket out of the sun. As the latter ascended the heavens and
the scorching heat increased, our confidence in nearing our
quarry ascended likewise, for we knew that buffaloes do not like
great heat. Nevertheless this band continued straight on its way.
I think now they must have got scent of our camp, and had
therefore decided to move to one of the alternate and widely
separated feeding grounds every herd keeps in its habitat. Only
at noon, and after six hours of steady trailing, covering perhaps
a dozen miles, did we catch them up.

>From the start we had been bothered with rhinoceroses. Five times
did we encounter them, standing almost squarely on the line of
the spoor we were following. Then we had to make a wide quiet
circle to leeward in order to avoid disturbing them, and were
forced to a very minute search in order to pick up the buffalo
tracks again on the other side. This was at once an anxiety and a
delay, and we did not love those rhino.

Finally, at the very edge of the Yatta Plains we overtook the
herd, resting for noon in a scattered thicket. Leaving Fundi, I,
with Memba Sasa, stalked down to them. We crawled and crept by
inches flat to the ground, which was so hot that it fairly burned
the hand. The sun beat down on us fiercely, and the air was close
and heavy even among the scanty grass tufts in which we were
trying to get cover. It was very hard work indeed, but after a
half hour of it we gained a thin bush not over thirty yards from
a half dozen dark and indeterminate bodies dozing in the very
centre of a brush patch. Cautiously I wiped the sweat from my
eyes and raised my glasses. It was slow work and patient work,
picking out and examining each individual beast from the mass.
Finally the job was done. I let fall my glasses.

"Monumookee y'otey-all cows," I whispered to Memba Sasa.

We backed out of there inch by inch, with intention of circling a
short distance to the leeward, and then trying the herd again
lower down. But some awkward slight movement, probably on my
part, caught the eye of one of those blessed cows. She threw up
her head; instantly the whole thicket seemed alive with beasts.
We could hear them crashing and stamping, breaking the brush,
rushing headlong and stopping again; we could even catch
momentary glimpses of dark bodies. After a few minutes we saw the
mass of the herd emerge from the thicket five hundred yards away
and flow up over the hill. There were probably a hundred and
fifty of them, and, looking through my glasses, I saw among them
two fine old bulls. They were of course not much alarmed, as only
the one cow knew what it was all about anyway, and I suspected
they would stop at the next thicket.

We had only one small canteen of water with us, but we divided
that. It probably did us good, but the quantity was not
sufficient to touch our thirst. For the remainder of the day we
suffered rather severely, as the sun was fierce.

After a short interval we followed on after the buffaloes. Within
a half mile beyond the crest of the hill over which they had
disappeared was another thicket. At the very edge of the thicket,
asleep under an outlying bush, stood one of the big bulls!

Luck seemed with us at last. The wind was right, and between us
and the bull lay only four hundred yards of knee-high grass. All
we had to do was to get down on our hands and knees, and, without
further precautions, crawl up within range and pot him. That
meant only a bit of hard, hot work.

When we were about halfway a rhinoceros suddenly arose from the
grass between us and the buffalo, and about one hundred yards

What had aroused him, at that distance and upwind, I do not know.
It hardly seemed possible that he could have heard us, for we
were moving very quietly, and, as I say, we were downwind.
However, there he was on his feet, sniffing now this way, now
that, in search for what had alarmed him. We sank out of sight
and lay low, fully expecting that the brute would make off.

For just twenty-five minutes by the watch that rhinoceros looked
and looked deliberately in all directions while we lay hidden
waiting for him to get over it. Sometimes he would start off
quite confidently for fifty or sixty yards, so that we thought at
last we were rid of him, but always he returned to the exact spot
where we had first seen him, there to stamp, and blow. The
buffalo paid no attention to these manifestations. I suppose
everybody in jungleland is accustomed to rhinoceros bad temper
over nothing. Twice he came in our direction, but both times gave
it up after advancing twenty-five yards or so. We lay flat on our
faces, the vertical sun slowly roasting us, and cursed that

Now the significance of this incident is twofold: first, the fact
that, instead of rushing off at the first intimation of our
presence, as would the average rhino, he went methodically to
work to find us; second, that he displayed such remarkable
perseverance as to keep at it nearly a half hour. This was a
spirit quite at variance with that finding its expression in the
blind rush or in the sudden passionate attack. From that point of
view it seems to me that the interest and significance of the
incident can hardly be overstated.

Four or five times we thought ourselves freed of the nuisance,
but always, just as we were about to move on, back he came, as
eager as ever to nose us out. Finally he gave it up, and, at a
slow trot, started to go away from there. And out of the three
hundred and sixty degrees of the circle where he might have gone
he selected just our direction. Note that this was downwind for
him, and that rhinoceroses usually escape upwind.

We laid very low, hoping that, as before, he would change his
mind as to direction. But now he was no longer looking, but
travelling. Nearer and nearer he came. We could see plainly his
little eyes, and hear the regular swish, swish, swish of his
thick legs brushing through the grass. The regularity of his trot
never varied, but to me lying there directly in his path, he
seemed to be coming on altogether too fast for comfort. From our
low level he looked as big as a barn. Memba Sasa touched me
lightly on the leg. I hated to shoot, but finally when he loomed
fairly over us I saw it must be now or never. If I allowed him to
come closer, he must indubitably catch the first movement of my
gun and so charge right on us before I would have time to deliver
even an ineffective shot. Therefore, most reluctantly, I placed
the ivory bead of the great Holland gun just to the point of his
shoulder and pulled the trigger. So close was he that as he
toppled forward I instinctively, though unnecessarily of course,
shrank back as though he might fall on me. Fortunately I had
picked my spot properly, and no second shot was necessary. He
fell just twenty-seven feet-nine yards -from where we lay!

The buffalo vanished into the blue. We were left with a dead
rhino, which we did not want, twelve miles from camp, and no
water. It was a hard hike back, but we made it finally, though
nearly perished from thirst.

This beast, be it noted, did not charge us at all, but I consider
him as one of the three undoubtedly animated by hostile
intentions. Of the others I can, at this moment, remember five
that might or might not have been actually and maliciously
charging when they were killed or dodged. I am no mind reader for
rhinoceros. Also I am willing to believe in their entirely
altruistic intentions. Only, if they want to get the practical
results of their said altruistic intentions they must really
refrain from coming straight at me nearer than twenty yards. It
has been stated that if one stands perfectly still until the
rhinoceros is just six feet away, and then jumps sideways, the
beast will pass him. I never happened to meet anybody who had
acted on this theory. I suppose that such exist: though I doubt
if any persistent exponent of the art is likely to exist long.
Personally I like my own method, and stoutly maintain that
within twenty yards it is up to the rhinoceros to begin to do the


At first the traveller is pleased and curious over rhinoceros.
After he has seen and encountered eight or ten, he begins to look
upon them as an unmitigated nuisance. By the time he has done a
week in thick rhino-infested scrub he gets fairly to hating them.

They are bad enough in the open plains, where they can be seen and
avoided, but in the tall grass or the scrub they are a continuous
anxiety. No cover seems small enough to reveal them. Often they
will stand or lie absolutely immobile until you are within a very
short distance, and then will outrageously break out. They are,
in spite of their clumsy build, as quick and active as polo
ponies, and are the only beasts I know of capable of leaping into
full speed ahead from a recumbent position. In thorn scrub they
are the worst, for there, no matter how alert the traveller may
hold himself, he is likely to come around a bush smack on one.
And a dozen times a day the throat-stopping, abrupt crash and
smash to right or left brings him up all standing, his heart
racing, the blood pounding through his veins. It is jumpy work,
and is very hard on the temper. In the natural reaction from
being startled into fits one snaps back to profanity. The
cumulative effects of the epithets hurled after a departing and
inconsiderately hasty rhinoceros may have done something toward
ruining the temper of the species. It does not matter whether or
not the individual beast proves dangerous; he is inevitably most
startling. I have come in at night with my eyes fairly aching
from spying for rhinos during a day's journey through high grass.

And, as a friend remarked, rhinos are such a mussy death. One
poor chap, killed while we were away on our first trip, could not
be moved from the spot where he had been trampled. A few
shovelfuls of earth over the remains was all the rhinoceros had
left possible.

Fortunately, in the thick stuff especially, it is often possible
to avoid the chance rhinoceros through the warning given by the
rhinoceros birds. These are birds about the size of a robin that
accompany the beast everywhere. They sit in a row along his back
occupying themselves with ticks and a good place to roost. Always
they are peaceful and quiet until a human being approaches. Then
they flutter a few feet into the air uttering a peculiar rapid
chattering. Writers with more sentiment than sense of proportion
assure us that this warns the rhinoceros of approaching danger!
On the contrary, I always looked at it the other way. The
rhinoceros birds thereby warned ME of danger, and I was duly

The safari boys stand quite justly in a holy awe of the rhino.
The safari is strung out over a mile or two of country, as a
usual thing, and a downwind rhino is sure to pierce some part of
the line in his rush. Then down go the loads with a smash, and up
the nearest trees swarm the boys. Usually their refuges are thorn
trees, armed, even on the main trunk, with long sharp spikes.
There is no difficulty in going up, but the gingerly coming down,
after all the excitement has died, is a matter of deliberation
and of voices uplifted in woe. Cuninghame tells of an inadequate
slender and springy, but solitary, sapling into which swarmed
half his safari on the advent of a rambunctious rhino. The tree
swayed and bent and cracked alarmingly, threatening to dump the
whole lot on the ground. At each crack the boys yelled. This
attracted the rhinoceros, which immediately charged the tree full
tilt. He hit square, the tree shivered and creaked, the boys
wound their arms and legs around the slender support and howled
frantically. Again and again rhinoceros drew back to repeat his
butting of that tree. By the time Cuninghame reached the spot,
the tree, with its despairing burden of black birds, was clinging
to the soil by its last remaining roots.

In the Nairobi Club I met a gentleman with one arm gone at the
shoulder. He told his story in a slightly bored and drawling
voice, picking his words very carefully, and evidently most
occupied with neither understating nor overstating the case. It
seems he had been out, and had killed some sort of a buck. While
his men were occupied with this, he strolled on alone to see what
he could find. He found a rhinoceros, that charged viciously, and
into which he emptied his gun.

"When I came to," he said, "it was just coming on dusk, and the
lions were beginning to grunt. My arm was completely crushed, and
I was badly bruised and knocked about. As near as I could
remember I was fully ten miles from camp. A circle of carrion
birds stood all about me not more than ten feet away, and a great
many others were flapping over me and fighting in the air. These
last were so close that I could feel the wind from their wings.
It was rawther gruesome." He paused and thought a a moment, as
though weighing his words. "In fact," he added with an air of
final conviction, "it was QUITE gruesome!"

The most calm and imperturbable rhinoceros I ever saw was one
that made us a call on the Thika River. It was just noon, and our
boys were making camp after a morning's march. The usual racket
was on, and the usual varied movement of rather confused
industry. Suddenly silence fell. We came out of the tent to see
the safari gazing spellbound in one direction. There was a
rhinoceros wandering peaceably over the little knoll back of
camp, and headed exactly in our direction. While we watched, he
strolled through the edge of camp, descended the steep bank to
the river's edge, drank, climbed the bank, strolled through camp
again and departed over the hill. To us he paid not the slightest
attention. It seems impossible to believe that he neither scented
nor saw any evidences of human life in all that populated flat,
especially when one considers how often these beasts will SEEM to
become aware of man's presence by telepathy.* Perhaps he was the
one exception to the whole race, and was a good-natured rhino.

*Opposing theories are those of "instinct," and of slight causes,
such a grasshoppers leaping before the hunter's feet, not noticed
by the man approaching.

The babies are astonishing and amusing creatures, with blunt
noses on which the horns are just beginning to form, and with
even fewer manners than their parents. The mere fact of an
800-pound baby does not cease to be curious. They are truculent
little creatures, and sometimes rather hard to avoid when they
get on the warpath. Generally, as far as my observation goes, the
mother gives birth to but one at a time. There may be occasional
twin births, but I happen never to have met so interesting a

Rhinoceroses are still very numerous-too numerous. I have seen
as many as fourteen in two hours, and probably could have found
as many more if I had been searching for them. There is no doubt,
however, that this species must be the first to disappear of the
larger African animals. His great size combined with his 'orrid
'abits mark him for early destruction. No such dangerous lunatic
can be allowed at large in a settled country, nor in a country
where men are travelling constantly. The species will probably be
preserved in appropriate restricted areas. It would be a great
pity to have so perfect an example of the Prehistoric Pinhead
wiped out completely. Elsewhere he will diminish, and finally

For one thing, and for one thing only, is the traveller indebted
to the rhinoceros. The beast is lazy, large, and has an excellent
eye for easy ways through. For this reason, as regards the
question of good roads, he combines the excellent qualities of
Public Sentiment, the Steam Roller, and the Expert Engineer.
Through thorn thickets impenetrable to anything less armoured
than a Dreadnaught like himself he clears excellent paths. Down
and out of eroded ravines with perpendicular sides he makes
excellent wide trails, tramped hard, on easy grades, often with
zigzags to ease the slant. In some of the high country where the
torrential rains wash hundreds of such gullies across the line of
march it is hardly an exaggeration to say that travel would be
practically impossible without the rhino trails wherewith to
cross. Sometimes the perpendicular banks will extend for miles
without offering any natural break down to the stream-bed. Since
this is so I respectfully submit to Government the following

(a) That a limited number of these beasts shall be licensed as
Trail Rhinos; and that all the rest shall be killed from the
settled and regularly travelled districts.

(b) That these Trail Rhinos shall be suitably hobbled by short
steel chains.

(c) That each Trail Rhino shall carry painted conspicuously on
his side his serial number.

(d) That as a further precaution for public safety each Trail
Rhino shall carry firmly attached to his tail a suitable red
warning flag. Thus the well-known habit of the rhinoceros of
elevating his tail rigidly when about to charge, or when in the
act of charging, will fly the flag as a warning to travellers.

(e) That an official shall be appointed to be known as the
Inspector of Rhinos whose duty it shall be to examine the
hobbles, numbers and flags of all Trail Rhinos, and to keep the
same in due working order and repair.

And I do submit to all and sundry that the above resolutions have
as much sense to them as have most of the petitions submitted to
Government by settlers in a new country.


For a number of days we camped in a grove just above a dense
jungle and not fifty paces from the bank of a deep and wide
river. We could at various points push through light low
undergrowth, or stoop beneath clear limbs, or emerge on tiny open
banks and promontories to look out over the width of the stream.
The river here was some three or four hundred feet wide. It
cascaded down through various large boulders and sluiceways to
fall bubbling and boiling into deep water; it then flowed still
and sluggish for nearly a half mile and finally divided into
channels around a number of wooded islands of different sizes. In
the long still stretch dwelt about sixty hippopotamuses of all

During our stay these hippos led a life of alarmed and angry
care. When we first arrived they were distributed picturesquely
on banks or sandbars, or were lying in midstream. At once they
disappeared under water. By the end of four or five minutes they
began to come to the surface. Each beast took one disgusted look,
snorted, and sank again. So hasty was his action that he did not
even take time to get a full breath; consequently up he had to
come in not more than two minutes, this time. The third
submersion lasted less than a minute; and at the end of half hour
of yelling we had the hippos alternating between the bottom of
the river and the surface of the water about as fast as they
could make a round trip, blowing like porpoises. It was a comical
sight. And as some of the boys were always out watching the show,
those hippos had no respite during the daylight hours. From a
short distance inland the explosive blowing as they came to the
surface sounded like the irregular exhaust of a steam-engine.

We camped at this spot four days; and never, in that length of
time, during the daytime, did those hippopotamuses take any
recreation and rest. To be sure after a little they calmed down
sufficiently to remain on the surface for a half minute or so,
instead of gasping a mouthful of air and plunging below at once;
but below was where they considered they belonged most of the
time. We got to recognize certain individuals. They would stare
at us fixedly for a while; and then would glump down out of sight
like submarines.

When I saw them thus floating with only the very top of the head
and snout out of water, I for the first time appreciated why the
Greeks had named them hippopotamuses-the river horses. With the
heavy jowl hidden; and the prominent nostrils, the long
reverse-curved nose, the wide eyes, and the little pointed ears
alone visible, they resembled more than a little that sort of
conventionalized and noble charger seen on the frieze of the
Parthenon, or in the prancy paintings of the Renaissance.

There were hippopotamuses of all sizes and of all colours. The
little ones, not bigger than a grand piano, were of flesh pink.
Those half-grown were mottled with pink and black in blotches.
The adults were almost invariably all dark, though a few of them
retained still a small pink spot or so-a sort of persistence in
mature years of the eternal boy-, I suppose. All were very sleek
and shiny with the wet; and they had a fashion of suddenly and
violently wiggling one or the other or both of their little ears
in ridiculous contrast to the fixed stare of their bung eyes.
Generally they had nothing to say as to the situation, though
occasionally some exasperated old codger would utter a grumbling

The ground vegetation for a good quarter mile from the river bank
was entirely destroyed, and the earth beaten and packed hard by
these animals. Landing trails had been made leading out from the
water by easy and regular grades. These trails were about two
feet wide and worn a foot or so deep. They differed from the
rhino trails, from which they could be easily distinguished, in
that they showed distinctly two parallel tracks separated from
each other by a slight ridge. In other words, the hippo waddles.
These trails we found as far as four and five miles inland. They
were used, of course, only at night; and led invariably to lush
and heavy feed. While we were encamped there, the country on our
side the river was not used by our particular herd of hippos. One
night, however, we were awakened by a tremendous rending crash of
breaking bushes, followed by an instant's silence and then the
outbreak of a babel of voices. Then we heard a prolonged
sw-i-sh-sh-sh, exactly like the launching of a big boat. A hippo
had blundered out the wrong side the river, and fairly into our

In rivers such as the Tana these great beasts are most
extraordinarily abundant. Directly in front of our camp, for
example, were three separate herds which contained respectively
about sixty, forty, and twenty-five head. Within two miles below
camp were three other big pools each with its population; while a
walk of a mile above showed about as many more. This sort of
thing obtained for practically the whole length of the
river-hundreds of miles. Furthermore, every little tributary
stream, no matter how small, provided it can muster a pool or so
deep enough to submerge so large an animal, has its faithful
band. I have known of a hippo quite happily occupying a ditch
pool ten feet wide and fifteen feet long. There was literally not
room enough for the beast to turn around; he had to go in at one
end and out at the other! Each lake, too, is alive with them; and
both lakes and rivers are many.

Nobody disturbs hippos, save for trophies and an occasional
supply of meat for the men or of cooking fat for the kitchen.
Therefore they wax fat and sassy, and will long continue to
flourish in the land.

It takes time to kill a hippo, provided one is wanted. The mark
is small, and generally it is impossible to tell whether or not
the bullet has reached the brain. Harmed or whole the beast sinks
anyway. Some hours later the distention of the stomach will float
the body. Therefore the only decent way to do is to take the
shot, and then wait a half day to see whether or not you have
missed. There are always plenty of volunteers in camp to watch
the pool, for the boys are extravagantly fond of hippo meat. Then
it is necessary to manoeuvre a rope on the carcass, often a
matter of great difficulty, for the other hippos bellow and snort
and try to live up to the circus posters of the Blood-sweating
Behemoth of Holy Writ, and the crocodiles like dark meat very
much. Usually one offers especial reward to volunteers, and
shoots into the water to frighten the beasts. The volunteer
dashes rapidly across the shallows, makes a swift plunge, and
clambers out on the floating body as onto a raft.

Then he makes fast the rope, and everybody tails on and tows the
whole outfit ashore. On one occasion the volunteer produced a
fish line and actually caught a small fish from the floating
carcass! This sounds like a good one; but I saw it with my own
two eyes.

It was at the hippo pool camp that we first became acquainted
with Funny Face.

Funny Face was the smallest, furriest little monkey you ever saw.
I never cared for monkeys before; but this one was altogether
engaging. He had thick soft fur almost like that on a Persian
cat, and a tiny human black face, and hands that emerged from a
ruff; and he was about as big as old-fashioned dolls used to be
before they began to try to imitate real babies with them. That
is to say, he was that big when we said farewell to him. When we
first knew him, had he stood in a half pint measure he could just
have seen over the rim. We caught him in a little thorn ravine
all by himself, a fact that perhaps indicates that his mother had
been killed, or perhaps that he, like a good little Funny Face,
was merely staying where he was told while she was away. At any
rate he fought savagely, according to his small powers. We took
him ignominiously by the scruff of the neck, haled him to camp,
and dumped him down on Billy. Billy constructed him a beautiful
belt by sacrificing part of a kodak strap (mine), and tied him to
a chop box filled with dry grass. Thenceforth this became Funny
Face's castle, at home and on the march.

Within a few hours his confidence in life was restored. He
accepted small articles of food from our hands, eyeing us
intently, retired and examined them. As they all proved
desirable, he rapidly came to the conclusion that these new large
strange monkeys, while not so beautiful and agile as his own
people, were nevertheless a good sort after all. Therefore he
took us into his confidence. By next day he was quite tame, would
submit to being picked up without struggling, and had ceased
trying to take an end off our various fingers. In fact when the
finger was presented, he would seize it in both small black
hands; convey it to his mouth; give it several mild and gentle
love-chews; and then, clasping it with all four hands, would
draw himself up like a little athlete and seat himself upright on
the outspread palm. Thence he would survey the world, wrinkling
up his tiny brow.

This chastened and scholarly attitude of mind lasted for four or
five days. Then Funny Face concluded that he understood all about
it, had settled satisfactorily to himself all the problems of the
world and his relations to it, and had arrived at a good working
basis for life. Therefore these questions ceased to occupy him.
He dismissed them from his mind completely, and gave himself over
to light-hearted frivolity.

His disposition was flighty but full of elusive charm. You
deprecated his lack of serious purpose in life, disapproved
heartily of his irresponsibility, but you fell to his engaging
qualities. He was a typical example of the lovable
good-for-naught. Nothing retained his attention for two
consecutive minutes. If he seized a nut and started for his chop
box with it, the chances were he would drop it and forget all
about it in the interest excited by a crawling ant or the colour
of a flower. His elfish face was always alight with the play of
emotions and of flashing changing interests. He was greatly given
to starting off on very important errands, which he forgot before
he arrived.

In this he contrasted strangely with his friend Darwin. Darwin
was another monkey of the same species, caught about a week
later. Darwin's face was sober and pondering, and his methods
direct and effective. No side excursions into the brilliant
though evanescent fields of fancy diverted him from his ends.
These were, generally, to get the most and best food and the
warmest corner for sleep. When he had acquired a nut, a kernel of
corn, or a piece of fruit, he sat him down and examined it
thoroughly and conscientiously and then, conscientiously and
thoroughly, he devoured it. No extraneous interest could distract
his attention; not for a moment. That he had sounded the
seriousness of life is proved by the fact that he had observed
and understood the flighty character of Funny Face. When Funny
Face acquired a titbit, Darwin took up a hump-backed position
near at hand, his bright little eyes fixed on his friend's
activities. Funny Face would nibble relishingly at his prune for
a moment or so; then an altogether astonishing butterfly would
flitter by just overhead. Funny Face, lost in ecstasy would gaze
skyward after the departing marvel. This was Darwin's
opportunity. In two hops he was at Funny Face's side. With great
deliberation, but most businesslike directness, Darwin disengaged
Funny Face's unresisting fingers from the prune, seized it, and
retired. Funny Face never knew it; his soul was far away after
the blazoned wonder, and when it returned, it was not to prunes
at all. They were forgotten, and his wandering eye focussed back
to a bright button in the grass. Thus by strict attention to
business did Darwin prosper.

Darwin's attitude was always serious, and his expression grave.
When he condescended to romp with Funny Face one could see that
it was not for the mere joy of sport, but for the purposes of
relaxation. If offered a gift he always examined it seriously
before finally accepting it, turning it over and over in his
hands, and considering it with wrinkled brow. If you offered
anything to Funny Face, no matter what, he dashed up, seized it
on the fly, departed at speed uttering grateful low chatterings;
probably dropped and forgot it in the excitement of something new
before he had even looked to see what it was.

"These people," said Darwin to himself, "on the whole, and as an
average, seem to give me appropriate and pleasing gifts. To be
sure, it is always well to see that they don't try to bunco me
with olive stones or such worthless trash, but still I believe
they are worth cultivating and standing in with."

""It strikes me," observed Funny Face to himself, "that my
adorable Memsahib and my beloved bwana have been very kind to me
to-day, though I don't remember precisely how. But I certainly do
love them!"

We cut good sized holes on each of the four sides of their chop
box to afford them ventilation on the march. The box was always
carried on one of the safari boy's heads: and Funny Face and
Darwin gazed forth with great interest. It was very amusing to
see the big negro striding jauntily along under his light burden;
the large brown winking eyes glued to two of the apertures. When
we arrived in camp and threw the box cover open, they hopped
forth, shook themselves, examined their immediate surroundings
and proceeded to take a little exercise. When anything alarmed
them, such as the shadow of a passing hawk, they skittered madly
up the nearest thing in sight-tent pole, tree, or human form-
and scolded indignantly or chittered in a low tone according to
the degree of their terror. When Funny Face was very young,
indeed, the grass near camp caught fire. After the excitement was
over we found him completely buried in the straw of his box,
crouched, and whimpering like a child. As he could hardly, at his
tender age, have had any previous experience with fire, this
instinctive fear was to me very interesting.

The monkeys had only one genuine enemy. That was an innocent
plush lion named Little Simba. It had been given us in joke
before we left California, we had tucked it into an odd corner of
our trunk, had discovered it there, carried it on safari out of
sheer idleness, and lo! it had become an important member of the
expedition. Every morning Mahomet or Yusuf packed it-or rather
him-carefully away in the tin box. Promptly at the end of the
day's march Little Simba was haled forth and set in a place of
honour in the centre of the table, and reigned there-or
sometimes in a little grass jungle constructed by his faithful
servitors-until the march was again resumed. His job in life was
to look after our hunting luck. When he failed to get us what we
wanted, he was punished; when he procured us what we desired he
was rewarded by having his tail sewed on afresh, or by being
presented with new black thread whiskers, or even a tiny blanket
of Mericani against the cold. This last was an especial favour
for finally getting us the greater kudu. Naturally as we did all
this in the spirit of an idle joke our rewards and punishments
were rather desultory. To our surprise, however, we soon found
that our boys took Little Simba quite seriously. He was a fetish,
a little god, a power of good or bad luck. We did not appreciate
this point until one evening, after a rather disappointing day,
Mahomet came to us bearing Little Simba in his hand.

"Bwana," said he respectfully, "is it enough that I shut Simba in
the tin box, or do you wish to flog him?"

On one very disgraceful occasion, when everything went wrong, we
plucked Little Simba from his high throne and with him made a
beautiful drop-kick out into the tall grass. There, in a loud
tone of voice, we sternly bade him lie until the morrow. The camp
was bung-eyed. It is not given to every people to treat its gods
in such fashion: indeed, in very deed, great is the white man! To
be fair, having published Little Simba's disgrace, we should
publish also Little Simba's triumph: to tell how, at the end of a
certain very lucky three months' safari he was perched atop a
pole and carried into town triumphantly at the head of a howling,
singing procession of a hundred men. He returned to America, and
now, having retired from active professional life, is leading an
honoured old age among the trophies he helped to procure.

Funny Face first met Little Simba when on an early investigating
tour. With considerable difficulty he had shinnied up the table
leg, and had hoisted himself over the awkwardly projecting table
edge. When almost within reach of the fascinating affairs
displayed atop, he looked straight up into the face of Little
Simba! Funny Face shrieked aloud, let go all holds and fell off
flat on his back. Recovering immediately, he climbed just as high
as he could, and proceeded, during the next hour, to relieve his
feelings by the most insulting chatterings and grimaces. He never
recovered from this initial experience. All that was necessary to
evoke all sorts of monkey talk was to produce Little Simba.
Against his benign plush front then broke a storm of
remonstrance. He became the object of slow advances and sudden
scurrying, shrieking retreats, that lasted just as long as he
stayed there, and never got any farther than a certain quite
conservative point. Little Simba did not mind. He was too busy
being a god.


The Cape Buffalo is one of the four dangerous kinds of African
big game; of which the other three are the lion, the rhinoceros,
and the elephant. These latter are familiar to us in zoological
gardens, although the African and larger form of the rhinoceros
and elephant are seldom or never seen in captivity. But buffaloes
are as yet unrepresented in our living collections. They are huge
beasts, tremendous from any point of view, whether considered in
height, in mass, or in power. At the shoulder they stand from
just under five feet to just under six feet in height; they are
short legged, heavy bodied bull necked, thick in every dimension.
In colour they are black as to hair, and slate gray as to skin;
so that the individual impression depends on the thickness of the
coat. They wear their horns parted in the middle, sweeping
smoothly away in the curves of two great bosses either side the
head. A good trophy will measure in spread from forty inches to
four feet. Four men will be required to carry in the head alone.
As buffaloes when disturbed or suspicious have a habit of
thrusting their noses up and forward, that position will cling to
one's memory as the most typical of the species.

A great many hunters rank the buffalo first among the dangerous
beasts. This is not my own opinion, but he is certainly dangerous
enough. He possesses the size, power, and truculence of the
rhinoceros, together with all that animal's keenness of scent and
hearing but with a sharpness of vision the rhinoceros has not.
While not as clever as either the lion or the elephant, he is
tricky enough when angered to circle back for the purpose of
attacking his pursuers in the rear or flank, and to arrange
rather ingenious ambushes for the same purpose. He is rather more
tenacious of life than the rhinoceros, and will carry away an
extraordinary quantity of big bullets. Add to these
considerations the facts that buffaloes go in herds; and that,
barring luck, chances are about even they will have to be
followed into the thickest cover, it can readily be seen that
their pursuit is exciting.

The problem would be simplified were one able or willing to slip
into the thicket or up to the grazing herd and kill the nearest
beast that offers. As a matter of fact an ordinary herd will
contain only two or three bulls worth shooting; and it is the
hunter's delicate task to glide and crawl here and there, with
due regard for sight, scent and sound, until he has picked one of
these from the scores of undesirables. Many times will he worm
his way by inches toward the great black bodies half defined in
the screen of thick undergrowth only to find that he has stalked
cows or small bulls. Then inch by inch he must back out again,
unable to see twenty yards to either side, guiding himself by the
probabilities of the faint chance breezes in the thicket. To
right and left he hears the quiet continued crop, crop, crop,
sound of animals grazing. The sweat runs down his face in
streams, and blinds his eyes, but only occasionally and with the
utmost caution can he raise his hand-or, better, lower his
head-to clear his vision. When at last he has withdrawn from the
danger zone, he wipes his face, takes a drink from the canteen,
and tries again. Sooner or later his presence comes to the notice
of some old cow. Behind the leafy screen where unsuspected she
has been standing comes the most unexpected and heart-jumping
crash! Instantly the jungle all about roars into life. The great
bodies of the alarmed beasts hurl themselves through the thicket,
smash! bang! crash! smash! as though a tornado were uprooting the
forest. Then abruptly a complete silence! This lasts but ten
seconds or so; then off rushes the wild stampede in another
direction; only again to come to a listening halt of breathless
stillness. So the hunter, unable to see anything, and feeling
very small, huddles with his gunbearers in a compact group,
listening to the wild surging short rushes, now this way, now
that, hoping that the stampede may not run over him. If by chance
it does, he has his two shots and the possibility of hugging a
tree while the rush divides around him. The latter is the most
likely; a single buffalo is hard enough to stop with two shots,
let alone a herd. And yet, sometimes, the mere flash and noise
will suffice to turn them, provided they are not actually trying
to attack, but only rushing indefinitely about. Probably a man
can experience few more thrilling moments than he will enjoy
standing in one of the small leafy rooms of an African jungle
while several hundred tons of buffalo crash back and forth all
around him.

In the best of circumstances it is only rarely that having
identified his big bull, the hunter can deliver a knockdown blow.
The beast is extraordinarily vital, and in addition it is
exceedingly difficult to get a fair, open shot. Then from the
danger of being trampled down by the blind and senseless stampede
of the herd he passes to the more defined peril from an angered
and cunning single animal. The majority of fatalities in hunting
buffaloes happen while following wounded beasts. A flank charge
at close range may catch the most experienced man; and even when
clearly seen, it is difficult to stop. The buffalo's wide bosses
are a helmet to his brain, and the body shot is always chancy.
The beast tosses his victim, or tramples him, or pushes him
against a tree to crush him like a fly.

He who would get his trophy, however, is not always-perhaps is
not generally-forced into the thicket to get it. When not much
disturbed, buffaloes are in the habit of grazing out into the
open just before dark; and of returning to their thicket cover
only well after sunrise. If the hunter can arrange to meet his
herd at such a time, he stands a very good chance of getting a
clear shot. The job then requires merely ordinary caution and
manoeuvring; and the only danger, outside the ever-present one
from the wounded beast, is that the herd may charge over him
deliberately. Therefore it is well to keep out of sight.

The difficulty generally is to locate your beasts. They wander
all night, and must be blundered upon in the early morning before
they have drifted back into the thickets. Sometimes, by sending
skilled trackers in several directions, they can be traced to
where they have entered cover. A messenger then brings the white
man to the place, and every one tries to guess at what spot the
buffaloes are likely to emerge for their evening stroll. It is
remarkably easy to make a wrong guess, and the remaining daylight
is rarely sufficient to repair a mistake. And also, in the case
of a herd ranging a wide country with much tall grass and several
drinking holes, it is rather difficult, without very good luck,
to locate them on any given night or morning. A few herds, a very
few, may have fixed habits, and so prove easy hunting.

These difficulties, while in no way formidable, are real enough
in their small way; but they are immensely increased when the
herds have been often disturbed. Disturbance need not necessarily
mean shooting. In countries unvisited by white men often the
pastoral natives will so annoy the buffalo by shoutings and other
means, whenever they appear near the tame cattle, that the huge
beasts will come practically nocturnal. In that case only the
rankest luck will avail to get a man a chance in the open. The
herds cling to cover until after sundown and just at dusk; and
they return again very soon after the first streaks of dawn. If
the hunter just happens to be at the exact spot, he may get a
twilight shot when the glimmering ivory of his front sight is
barely visible. Otherwise he must go into the thicket.

As an illustration of the first condition might be instanced an
afternoon on the Tana. The weather was very hot. We had sent
three lots of men out in different directions, each under the
leadership of one of the gunbearers, to scout, while we took it
easy in the shade of our banda, or grass shelter, on the bank of
the river. About one o'clock a messenger came into camp reporting
that the men under Mavrouki had traced a herd to its lying-down
place. We took our heavy guns and started.

The way led through thin scrub up the long slope of a hill that
broke on the other side into undulating grass ridges that ended
in a range of hills. These were about four or five miles distant,
and thinly wooded on sides and lower slopes with what resembled a
small live-oak growth. Among these trees, our guide told us, the
buffalo had first been sighted.

The sun was very hot, and all the animals were still. We saw
impalla in the scrub, and many giraffes and bucks on the plains.
After an hour and a half's walk we entered the parklike groves at
the foot of the hills, and our guide began to proceed more
cautiously. He moved forward a few feet, peered about, retraced
his steps. Suddenly his face broke into a broad grin. Following
his indication we looked up, and there in a tree almost above us
roosted one of our boys sound asleep! We whistled at him.
Thereupon he awoke, tried to look very alert, and pointed in the
direction we should go. After an interval we picked up another
sentinel, and another, and another until, passed on thus from one
to the next, we traced the movements of the herd. Finally we came
upon Mavrouki and Simba under a bush. From them, in whispers, we
learned that the buffalo were karibu sana-very near; that they
had fed this far, and were now lying in the long grass just
ahead. Leaving the men, we now continued our forward movement on
hands and knees, in single file. It was very hot work, for the
sun beat square down on us, and the tall grass kept off every
breath of air. Every few moments we rested, lying on our faces.
Occasionally, when the grass shortened, or the slant of ground
tended to expose us, we lay quite flat and hitched forward an
inch at a time by the strength of our toes. This was very severe
work indeed, and we were drenched in perspiration. In fact, as I
had been feeling quite ill all day, it became rather doubtful
whether I could stand the pace.

However after a while we managed to drop down into an eroded deep
little ravine. Here the air was like that of a furnace, but at
least we could walk upright for a few rods. This we did, with the
most extraordinary precautions against even the breaking of a
twig or the rolling of a pebble. Then we clambered to the top of
the bank, wormed our way forward another fifty feet to the
shelter of a tiny bush, and stretched out to recuperate. We lay
there some time, sheltered from the sun. Then ahead of us
suddenly rumbled a deep bellow. We were fairly upon the herd!

Cautiously F., who was nearest the centre of the bush, raised
himself alongside the stem to look. He could see where the beasts
were lying, not fifty yards away, but he could make out nothing
but the fact of great black bodies taking their ease in the grass
under the shade of trees. So much he reported to us; then rose
again to keep watch.

Thus we waited the rest of the afternoon. The sun dipped at last
toward the west, a faint irregular breeze wandered down from the
hills, certain birds awoke and uttered their clear calls, an
unsuspected kongoni stepped from the shade of a tree over the way
and began to crop the grass, the shadows were lengthening through
the trees. Then ahead of us an uneasiness ran through the herd.
We in the grass could hear the mutterings and grumblings of many
great animals. Suddenly F. snapped his fingers, stooped low and
darted forward. We scrambled to our feet and followed.

Across a short open space we ran, bent double to the shelter of a
big ant hill. Peering over the top of this we found ourselves
within sixty yards of a long compact column of the great black
beasts, moving forward orderly to the left, the points of the
cow's horns, curved up and in, tossing slowly as the animals
walked. On the flank of the herd was a big gray bull.

It had been agreed that B. was to have the shot. Therefore he
opened fire with his 405 Winchester, a weapon altogether too
light for this sort of work. At the shot the herd dashed forward
to an open grass meadow a few rods away, wheeled and faced back
in a compact mass, their noses thrust up and out in their typical
fashion, trying with all their senses to locate the cause of the

Taking advantage both of the scattered cover, and the half light
of the shadows we slipped forward as rapidly and as unobtrusively
as we could to the edge of the grass meadow. Here we came to a
stand eighty yards from the buffaloes. They stood compactly like
a herd of cattle, staring, tossing their heads, moving slightly,
their wild eyes searching for us. I saw several good bulls, but
always they moved where it was impossible to shoot without danger
of getting the wrong beast. Finally my chance came; I planted a
pair of Holland bullets in the shoulder of one of them.

The herd broke away to the right, sweeping past us at close
range. My bull ran thirty yards with them, then went down stone
dead. When we examined him we found the hole made by B.'s
Winchester bullet; so that quite unintentionally and by accident
I had fired at the same beast. This was lucky. The trophy, by
hunter's law, of course, belonged to B.

Therefore F. and I alone followed on after the herd. It was now
coming on dusk. Within a hundred yards we began to see scattered
beasts. The formation of the herd had broken. Some had gone on in
flight, while others in small scattered groups would stop to
stare back, and would then move slowly on for a few paces before
stopping again. Among these I made out a bull facing us about a
hundred and twenty-five yards away, and managed to stagger him,
but could not bring him down.

Now occurred an incident which I should hesitate to relate were
it not that both F. and myself saw it. We have since talked it
over, compared our recollections, and found them to coincide in
every particular.

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