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His progress is, however, soon arrested : an opposing branch knocks off the tall conical machine curiously balanced, like a milkmaid's pail, on the top of his head; he stoops down to recover the lost treasure: in so doing his “pouch box” goes over his head, his “ cross belts” become entangled. Hearing a brisk firing all around, and wishing to have a part in the fun, he makes an effort to get on to the front, but finds himself most unaccountably held in the tenacious grasp of an unexpected native foe. The thick-spreading and ver. dant bush, under which the “chako” had rolled, is the “ wacht-eenbeetje,"* and to his cost he feels in his woollen garments the tenacious hold of its hooked claws; for the more he struggles to get free, the more he becomes entangled in the thorny web. Meanwhile the “ retire” shrilly echoes through the adjoining rocks : his friends the “ Totties," as ihey briskly run past in their retreat, warn him that the enemy (who knows right well our bagle calls) is at their heels. Exhausted by his protracted struggle, breathless, torn and bleeding from hands and face, the poor fellow makes a desperate effort at escape; in so doing, the ill-omened “chako” is left to its fate; the " wacht-een-beetje retains in triumph part of his dress; as he “ breaks covert” the Kaffirs, with insulting yells, blaze away at him from the bush, and, scudding across the plain towards his company, with the ill-adjusted “pouch" banging against his hinder parts, the poor devil, in addition to the balls whistling around him, is also exposed to the jeers and laughter of his more fortunate comrades !
Far be it from me to attempt here to detract from the efficiency and merits of our gallant soldiers, whose services, spite of every obstacle raised in their way, have been so conspicuous in every region of the globe; I merely wish to point out how much that efficiency might be increased by a little attention to the dictates of reason and common sense.
Though some of the native levies --- such as the Fingoes and -friendly" Kaffirs, enrolled as part of the force-were composed of a sad, half-naked, disorderly rabble, Captain Hogg's corps, which formed the greater part of the present expedition, was a marked exception to this rule. This last consisted entirely of Hottentots, who, under the auspices of their indefatigable partizan leader, had attained a degree of efficiency that could scarcely have been believed, and would have done credit to any light infantry corps.
Whenever any rough work had to be done, Hogg's corps was sure to be in request; and the hardy little fellows of which it was composed were admirably adapted to the cattle-lifting, bush-fighting warfare, in which they played so conspicuous a part. Unlike the regular portion of the force, they were wholly unencumbered by superfluous baggage or useless equipments. A low, broad-brimmed Jim Crow" hat protected their woolly heads from the sun, a loose fustian shooting-jacket, leather“ crackers," and easy “feldt-schoen," with a cartridge-belt fastened round the waist-whilst leaving the free use
* A Dutch appellation, literally meaning " wait a little,” which is always the case when its crooked thorns happen to lay hold of the skirt of one's garment.
† Trousers made of dressed sheer-skin. The “feldt-shoen” is a shoe made of soft, untanned leather.
of their limbs—enabled them, with no other arms save an old musket, to follow up the foe, and successfully engage him in his very strongholds; for, amidst the densest part of the most thorny bush, thus armed and accoutred, the little “ Totty," whether belonging to the Cape corps or to the burgher levies, proved ever more than a match for the gigantic and ferocious Kaffir.
* As usual on these expeditions, light marching trim was now the order of the day—that is to say, every man carried a blanket and a small supply of biscuit, wbilst a few head of cattle were driven along for slaughter. Unencumbered, therefore, with commissariat or camp equipage, we got rapidly over the ground, the Europeans of the party with difficulty keeping pace with the active little Totties, who, following the example of their untiring leader, footed it along at the rate of four miles an hour.
Our course lay along the high open ridge running midway between the Keiskamma and Great Fish River, overlooking in many places the dense bush, enshrouding a deep valley, now darkly immersed in shadow, through which tortuously meanders the latter stream. This “ Fish River Bush” is an immense tract of thorny jungle, extending from the Winterberg mountains to the sea coast. It is still the constant resort of the predatory Kaffir, as it was some years past that of all the nobler animals of the chase. The elephant, the rhinoceros, the buffalo, and hippopotamus, with innumerable other sylvan denizens, were, some fifty or sixty years back, the sole and undisputed occupants of this vast verdant wilderness : they were the original pioneers who fraved the paths amidst its otherwise impenetrable recesses, through which intricate tracks the hunter first followed them up to their lairs.
This was in the good old times of the occupation of the Zuureveldt by the Dutch Boers, and ere Kaffir intrusion had disturbed both man and beast, amidst its undulating grassy plains and dense boundless thickets. Since those patriarchal times, mighty changes have fitted o'er the scene, and the brand of the savage having scared alike the thrifty occupants of the prairie and the wild population of the jungle, the Zaureveldt was next tenanted by the encroaching Kaffir, and continued for years the favourite hunting ground of the ferocious tribes of Congo and T''Slambie.
After a long period of unauthorized and forcible occupation, the gallant Graham drove these barbarians from their usurped possessions, and shortly afterwards this part of the country became peopled by a new race; for in 1820 several thousands of English settlers, sent out by government, landed at Algoa Bay, and soon wrought great changes in the land of their adoption. A few fortunes were rapidly realized by some; but many, and by far the greater part of the emigrants, were entirely ruined by the successive failures of their crops. However, British energy was not to be daunted : numbers embarked in a channel of fresh enterprise, and became now deeply engaged in all the venturous vicissitudes and dangers of a contraband trade with the Kaffirs, then, under the severest penalties, prohibited by law; whilst others, converting their ploughshares into rifles, turned "mighty hunters" amidst the dense jungles of the Kowie and Fish River Bush, still at that period thickly tenanted by every species of the larger game, but chiefly by elephants, the sale of whose ivory amply repaid the dangers incurred by the many adventurous Nimrods who then sprang
up on the eastern frontier. Whilst looking down, during our onward progress, on those denselywooded kloofs, assuming every moment a darker and more sombre hue as night enveloped them in her gloomy mantle, many, a tale passed round, referring to bold deeds of woodcraft performed in their mazy depths--of hair-breadth 'scapes from the ponderous rhinoceros, the headstrong buffalo, or lordly elephant; for amongst our party were two or three old sportsmen, who had oft trodden the mazes below us, ere they were, as at present, nearly denuded of their savage denizens, who since then had followed up their track beyond the far Orange River, even to the verge of the southern tropic; for to this remote limit is the daring votary of the chase now fain to proceed quest of what, a few short years back, was so plentiful in those deep masses of jungle, which-save, maybe, by lurking Kaffirs—then lay so silent and tenantless at our feet.
The tedium of our now darksome march was thus whiled pleasantly away. One of the party—a man from infancy devoted to the chase, whose youth and manhood were passed in its pursuit, who had marked down the last elephants in those their once-favourite hauntsentered most enthusiastically on the theme. Striking on an elephaut “spoor,” he soon eloquently led away his audience through deep and rocky valleys, dense thorny jungles; threaded the narrow elephant path amidst all the intricacies of wooded kloofs; tracked the noble animals to where they fed; pointed out their gigantic forms, looming like dark ocean rocks above a glittering sea of bright green “speck-boom,”* aloes, euphorbias, and other strange and fantastic shrubs. Next would he tell of the stealthy, snake-like approach, the moment of breathless suspense, the sharp crack of the rifle, the fall of the huge patriarch of the flock, the wild crashing charge of the survivors, arrested in mid career by the ignited bush blazing up into a secure rampart of smoke and flame. The lifeless prostrate victim is now approached; then would follow the process of “ marking” the tusks, to be carried away at some future time; the tail docked in token of triumph, the amputation of the trunk, of a foot, or extraction of the heart
, part of which, wrapped in a flap cat from one of the fallen monster's cars, would form at the bivouac the evening repast of the tired and famished hunters.
Next would he speak of the huge rhinoceros, tearing up with its nasal horn, during wild paroxysms of fury, the very ground it trod on; of the mad, headlong charge of the buffalo, blinded in its rage; of the prancing “gnoo" and stately “gemsbok" (the fabled unicorn of old). Many a hair-breadth 'scape did he relate, mingled occasionally with a tale of woe; for accidents sometimes inevitably occurred amongst the followers of so adventurous a mode of life.
This old hunter had associated with, and well remembered, the famed and intrepid Thwackray,t who, after slaying I forget how many
* The favourite food of the elephant. Its small fleshy leaves, when boiled down and seasoned, form a very palatable dish.
+ The during sporting exploits of this young man, one of the settlers of 1820, are still the theme of conversation on the frontier. The elephant hunter was genes
hundred elephants, was, as our friend related, at last trampled to death by one whom he had, unfortunately, wounded without disabling. Amongst other casualties which had occurred in this sylvan warfare, he mentioned Colonel F- 's melancholy death : pursued by a wounded buffalo, he had taken refuge amidst the branches of a low, stunted tree; the infuriated animal, though unable to reach him with its horns, effectually used its tongue as a weapon of offence, with whose rough, prickly surface, by licking the legs and thighs of the unfortunate sufferer, it so completely denuded them of flesh, that, al. though at last rescued from so dreadful a position by the Hottentot attendants, who shot his tormentor, the poor fellow only lingered on for a few days, when death put an end to his most excruciating agonies.
Our friend's inexhaustible supply of sporting anecdote still continued, for miles and miles, to flow rapidly on, till at last the bright flickering blaze which illuinined the darkness in front of the column of march announced our arrival at the halting ground for the remaining portion of the night.
The surrounding obscurity precluded, however, all possibility of ascertaining the nature of the spot of our proposed bivouac; for all that could be discerned were the dark forms of the Hottentots as they intercepted the bright reflection of the blazing camp-fires, around which they appeared to move with the restlessness of condemned spirits at some pandemoniac feast ; whilst an occasional lurid glare was thrown on dark masses of tall underwood, which here and there were scattered over the high level table land around.
Meanwhile, the group who had been spiuning such tough sporting yarns during the march were soon snugly cnsconced to leeward of and beneath one of the dense clumps of foliage above alluded to. A fire was kindled : our Hottentot aitendants, in ten minutes, had, al fresco, prepared coffee and a “ carbonadje,”* and we all huddled up together to spend the night as we best could, under the sheltering boughs which intervened between ourselves and the canopy of heaven; across which, murky clouds, driven by the night-wind, mournfully sighing through our leafy bower, appeared in the surrounding pitchy darkness to be chasing each other in rapid succession, and ihreatened to bedew our slumbers with their watery burthen.
But sleep, gentle sleep, scared by the “figures and the fantasies” of so many a stirring tale of sylvan war, had, affrighted, fled this group of determined sportsmen; for in that wild and appropriate resting place to such staunch votaries of the chase were now assembled those who, in every portion of the globe, had long and sedulously plied the « merrie woodland craft.”
(To be continued.)
rally accompanied by threc or four Hottentots, with whose assistance some have been known to kill between 300 and 400 elephants during the year. No wonder, Iberefore, that these animals should now have entirely disappeared from this part of the country.
• Small pieces of meat spitted on a branch or wooden skewer, and thus bastily roasted before a camp fire.
SPORTING INCIDENTS AT HOME AND ABROAD.
(From the MS. Life of the Hon. Percy Hamilton.)
COMMUNICATED TO AND EDITED BY LORD WILLIAM LENNOX.
« Talents should never lie idle, they say ;
Best of all madrigals, private theatricals,
Amateur performance-Love at first sight" We met-we gazed—I saw and sighed
-She did not speak, and yet replied”-A lecture from the Head Master.
At the close of the last chapter, Kirkonnel, F , and myself were seated in what was called the parlour in a tolerable-sized house in Queen’s-square, Westminster ; we had just been introduced to the occupiers of it, Monsieur and Madame de Tourville, by their son Charles. There was an air of tawdry finery and vulgarity, both about the apartment and its owners, that caused us to start as young De Tourville presented us to his parents.
“ Pray be seated, young gentlemen,” said the Maître de Ballet, placing himself in the first position, and, in the most pantomimic manner, suiting the action to every word he uttered ; skipping across the room with that running step and shuffle so peculiar to dancers, he brought us chairs, which, with a motion of the hand, he called upon us to occupy.
“ A glass of wine, young gentlemen ? Clarisse, the keys !”
In the most bland yet dignified manner, the former representative of Juno rose from her seat, and after apologizing to us for her apparent rudeness, and begging a thousand pardons, cast a look at the corner cupboard, and making one of those matrimonial freemasonry signs to her husband (so well understood by man and wife), left the room, followed by him.
Although we have given the conversation of the host in our native English tongue, without the foreign aid of ornament and accent, our readers, to understand the spirit of the Frenchman's speech, as also that of his sposa, must fill them up with sundry ejaculations of Parbleue ! Hein! Ma foi ! Ventre bleu! Diable ! and others, profane and irreverent, with which they interlarded every remark.
Charles was now called out of the room by an over-dressed dirtylooking maid-of-all-work to assist in some family conference, and as the door was left ajar, and the voice of Madame de Tourville was raised whilst indulging in her own vernacular language, the quick ears of Kirkonnel could not help catching every word that fell from her, and which he as immediately translated to us in the following short-hand style