EARLY on the following morning the lions were still roaring, apparently within a hundred yards of the camp. I accordingly took a Reilly No. 10 double rifle and accompanied by my wife, who was anxious to see these glorious animals, and who carried my little Fletcher No. 24, I skirted the outside of the jungle on the high bank, on the narrow arm of the river. We were not long in finding traces of the lions. A broad track in the sandy bed of the dried stream showed where the buffalo had been dragged across to the thick and impervious green bushes, exactly beneath us on the margin of the river. A hind quarter of the buffalo, much gnawed, lay within seven or eight paces of us, among the bushes that had been trampled down, and the dung of numerous lions lay upon the open ground near the place of their concealment. We had two Tokrooris with us, carrying spare rifles, and I felt sure that the lions were within the bushes of dense nabbuk, which concealed them as perfectly as though behind a closed curtain. We approached within three or four yards of this effective screen, when suddenly we heard the cracking of bones, as the lions feasted in their den close to us; they would not show themselves, nor was there any possibility of obtaining a shot; therefore, after ascending the high bank, and waiting for some time in the hope that one might emerge to drag away the exposed portion of the buffalo, we returned to camp.

The aggageers had already returned from a reconnaissance of the country, as they had started before daybreak in search of elephants; they reported the fresh tracks of a herd, and they begged me to lose no time in accompanying them, as the elephants might retreat to a great distance. There was no need for this advice; in a few minutes my horse Tetel was saddled, and my six Tokrooris and Bacheet, with spare rifles, were in attendance. Bacheet, who had so ingloriously failed in his first essay at Wat el Negur, had been so laughed at by the girls of the village for his want of pluck, that he had declared himself ready to face the devil rather than the ridicule of the fair sex; and, to do him justice, he subsequently became a first-rate lad in moments of danger.

The aggageers were quickly mounted. It was a sight most grateful to a sportsman to witness the start of these superb hunters, who with the sabres slung from the saddle-bow, as though upon an everyday occasion, now left the camp with these simple weapons, to meet the mightiest animal of the creation in hand-to-hand conflict. The horses' hoofs clattered as we descended the shingly beach, and forded the river shoulder-deep, through the rapid current, while those on foot clung to the manes of the horses, and to the stirrup-leathers, to steady themselves over the loose stones beneath.

Shortly after our arrival upon the opposite side, we came upon numerous antelopes of the nellut (A. Strepsiceros) and tetel (A. Bubalis). I would not fire at these tempting animals, as we were seeking nobler game.

Tracking was very difficult; as there was a total absence of rain, it was next to impossible to distinguish the tracks of two days' date from those most recent upon the hard and parched soil; the only positive clue was the fresh dung of the elephants, and this being deposited at long intervals rendered the search extremely tedious. The greater part of the day passed in useless toil, and, after fording the river backwards and forwards several times, we at length arrived at a large area of sand in the bend of the stream, that was evidently overflowed when the river was full; this surface of many acres was backed by a forest of large trees. Upon arrival at this spot, the aggageers, who appeared to know every inch of the country, declared that, unless the elephants had gone far away, they must be close at hand, within the forest. We were speculating upon the direction of the wind, when we were surprised by the sudden trumpet of an elephant, that proceeded from the forest already declared to be the covert of the herd. In a few minutes later, a fine bull elephant marched majestically from the jungle upon the large area of sand, and proudly stalked direct towards the river.

At that time we were stationed under cover of a high bank of sand that had been left by the retiring river in sweeping round an angle; we immediately dismounted, and remained well concealed. The question of attack was quickly settled; the elephant was quietly stalking towards the water which was about three hundred paces distant from the jungle: this intervening space was heavy dry sand, that had been thrown up by the stream in the sudden bend of the river, which, turning from this point at a right angle, swept beneath a perpendicular cliff of conglomerate rock formed of rounded pebbles cemented together.

I proposed that we should endeavour to stalk the elephant, by creeping along the edge of the river, under cover of a sand bank about three feet high, and that, should the rifles fail, the aggageers should come on at full gallop, and cut off his retreat from the jungle; we should then have a chance for the swords.

Accordingly, I led the way, followed by Hadji Ali, my head Tokroori, with a rifle, while I carried the "Baby." Florian accompanied us. Having the wind fair, we advanced quickly for about half the distance, at which time we were within a hundred and fifty yards of the elephant, who had just arrived at the water, and had commenced drinking. We now crept cautiously towards him; the sand bank had decreased to a height of about two feet, and afforded very little shelter. Not a tree nor bush grew upon the surface of the barren sand, which was so deep that we sank nearly to the ankles at every footstep. Still we crept forward, as the elephant alternately drank, and then spouted the water in a shower over his colossal form; but just as we had arrived within about fifty yards, he happened to turn his head in our direction, and immediately perceived us. He cocked his enormous ears, gave a short trumpet, and for an instant he wavered in his determination whether to attack or fly; but as I rushed towards him with a shout, he turned towards the jungle, and I immediately fired a steady shot at the shoulder with the "Baby." As usual, the fearful recoil of the rifle, with a half-pound shell and twelve drachms of powder, nearly threw me backwards; but I saw the mark upon the elephant's shoulder, in an excellent line, although rather high. The only effect of the shot was to send him off at great speed towards the jungle; but at the same moment the three aggageers came galloping across the sand like greyhounds in a course, and, judiciously keeping parallel with the jung]e, they cut off his retreat, and, turning towards the elephant, they confronted him, sword in hand. At once the furious beast charged straight at the enemy; but now came the very gallant, but foolish, part of the hunt. Instead of leading the elephant by the flight of one man and horse, according to their usual method, all the aggageers at the same moment sprang from their saddles, and upon foot in the heavy sand they attacked the elephant with their swords.

In the way of sport, I never saw anything so magnificent, or so absurdly dangerous. No gladiatorial exhibition in the Roman arena could have surpassed this fight. The elephant was mad with rage, and nevertheless he seemed to know that the object of the hunters was to get behind him. This he avoided with great dexterity, turning as it were upon a pivot with extreme quickness, and charging headlong, first at one, and then at another of his assailants, while he blew clouds of sand in the air with his trunk, and screamed with fury. Nimble as monkeys, nevertheless the aggageers could not get behind him. In the folly of excitement they had forsaken their horses, which had escaped from the spot. The depth of the loose sand was in favour of the elephant, and was so much against the men that they avoided his charges with extreme difficulty. It was only by the determined pluck of all three that they alternately saved each other, as two invariably dashed in at the flanks when the elephant charged the third, upon which the wary animal immediately relinquished the chase, and turned round upon his pursuers. During this time, I had been labouring through the heavy sand, and shortly after I arrived at the fight, the elephant charged directly through the aggageers, receiving a shoulder shot from one of my Reilly No. 10 rifles, and at the same time a slash from the sword of Abou Do, who, with great dexterity and speed, had closed in behind him, just in time to reach the leg. Unfortunately, he could not deliver the cut in the right place, as the elephant, with increased speed, completely distanced the aggageers; he charged across the deep sand, and reached the jungle. We were shortly upon his tracks, and after running about a quarter of a mile, he fell dead in a dry watercourse. His tusks were, like the generality of Abyssinian elephants, exceedingly short, but of good thickness.

Some of our men, who had followed the runaway horses, shortly returned, and reported that, during our fight with the bull, they had heard other elephants trumpeting in the dense nabbuk jungle near the river. A portion of thick forest of about two hundred acres, upon this side of the river, was a tempting covert for elephants, and the aggageers, who were perfectly familiar with the habits of the animals, positively declared that the herd must be within this jungle. Accordingly, we proposed to skirt the margin of the river, which, as it made a bend at right angles, commanded two sides of a square. Upon reaching the jungle by the river side, we again heard the trumpet of an elephant and about a quarter of a mile distant we observed a herd of twelve of these animals shoulder-deep in the river, which they were in the act of crossing to the opposite side, to secure themselves in an almost impenetrable jungle of thorny nabbuk. The aggageers advised that we should return to the ford that we had already crossed, and, by repassing the river, we should most probably meet the elephants, as they would not leave the thick jungle until the night. Having implicit confidence in their knowledge of the country, I followed their directions, and we shortly recrossed the ford, and arrived upon a dry portion of the river's bed, banked by a dense thicket of nabbuk.

Jali now took the management of affairs. We all dismounted, and sent the horses to a considerable distance, lest they should by some noise disturb the elephants. We shortly heard a cracking in the jungle on our right, and Jali assured us, that, as he had expected, the elephants were slowly advancing along the jungle on the bank of the river, and they would pass exactly before us. We waited patiently in the bed of the river, and the cracking in the jungle sounded closer as the herd evidently approached. The strip of thick thorny covert that fringed the margin was in no place wider than half a mile - beyond that, the country was open and park-like, but at this season it was covered with parched grass from eight to ten feet high; the elephants would, therefore, most probably remain in the jungle until driven out.

In about a quarter of an hour, we heard by the noise in the jungle, about a hundred yards from the river, that the elephants were directly opposite to us. I accordingly instructed Jali to creep quietly by himself into the bush and to bring me information of their position: to this he at once agreed.

In three or four minutes he returned; he declared it impossible to use the sword, as the jungle was so dense that it would check the blow, but that I could use the rifle, as the elephants were close to us - he had seen three standing together, between us and the main body of the herd. I told Jali to lead me direct to the spot, and, followed by Fiorian and the aggageers, with my gun-bearers, I kept within a foot of my dependable little guide, who crept gently into the jungle; this was intensely thick, and quite impenetrable, except in such places where elephants and other heavy animals had trodden numerous alleys. Along one of these narrow passages we stealthily advanced, until Jali stepped quietly on one side, and pointed with his finger; I immediately observed two elephants looming through the thick bushes about eight paces from me. One offered a temple shot, which I quickly took with a Reilly No. 10, and floored it on the spot. The smoke hung so thickly, that I could not see sufficiently distinctly to fire my second barrel before the remaining elephant had turned; but Florian, with a three-ounce steel-tipped bullet, by a curious shot at the hind quarters, injured the hip joint to such an extent that we could more than equal the elephant in speed. In a few moments we found ourselves in a small open glade in the middle of the jungle, close to the stern of the elephant we were following. I had taken a fresh rifle, with both barrels loaded, and hardly had I made the exchange, when the elephant turned suddenly, and charged. Determined to try fairly the forehead shot, I kept my ground, and fired a Reilly No. 10, quicksilver and lead bullet, exactly in the centre, when certainly within four yards. The only effect was to make her stagger backwards, when, in another moment, with her immense ears thrown forward, she again rushed on. This was touch-and-go; but I fired my remaining barrel a little lower than the first shot. Checked in her rush, she backed towards the dense jungle, throwing her trunk about and trumpeting with rage. Snatching the Ceylon No. 10 from one of my trusty Tokrooris (Hassan), I ran straight at her, took a most deliberate aim at the forehead, and once more fired. The only effect was a decisive charge; but before I fired my last barrel, Jali rushed in, and, with one blow of his sharp sword, severed the back sinew. She was utterly helpless in the same instant. Bravo, Jali! I had fired three beautifully correct shots with No. 10 bullets, and seven drachms of powder in each charge; these were so nearly together that they occupied a space in her forehead of about three inches, and all had failed to kill! There could no longer be any doubt that the forehead shot at an African elephant could not be relied upon, although so fatal to the Indian species: this increased the danger tenfold, as in Ceylon I had generally made certain of an elephant by steadily waiting until it was close upon me.

I now reloaded my rifles, and the aggageers quitted the jungle to remount their horses, as they expected the herd had broken cover on the other side of the jungle; in which case they intended to give chase, and if possible, to turn them back into the covert, and drive them towards the guns. We accordingly took our stand in the small open glade, and I lent Florian one of my double rifles, as he was only provided with one single-barrelled elephant gun. I did not wish to destroy the prestige of the rifles, by hinting to the aggageers that it would be rather awkward for us to receive the charge of the infuriated herd, as the foreheads were invulnerable; but inwardly I rather hoped that they would not come so direct upon our position as the aggageers wished.

About a quarter of an hour passed in suspense, when we suddenly heard a chorus of wild cries of excitement on the other side of the jungle, raised iy the aggageers, who had headed the herd, and were driving them back towards us. In a few minutes a tremendous crashing in the jungle, accompanied by the occasional shrill scream of a savage elephant, and the continued shouts of the mounted aggageers, assured us that they were bearing down exactly upon our direction; they were apparently followed even through the dense jungle by the wild and reckless Arabs. I called my men close together, and told them to stand fast, and hand me the guns quickly; and we eagerly awaited the onset that rushed towards us like a storm. On they came, tearing everything before them. For a moment the jungle quivered and crashed; a second later, and, headed by an immense elephant, the herd thundered down upon us. The great leader came direct at me, and was received with right and left in the forehead from a Reilly No. 10 as fast as I could pull the triggers. The shock made it reel backwards for an instant, and fortunately turned it and the herd likewise. My second rifle was beautifully handed, and I made a quick right and left at the temples of two fine elephants, dropping them both stone-dead. At this moment the "Baby" was pushed into my hand by Hadji Ali just in time to take the shoulder of the last of the herd, who had already charged headlong after his comrades, and was disappearing in the jungle. Bang! went the "Baby;" round I spun like a weathercock, with the blood pouring from my nose, as the recoil had driven the sharp top of the hammer deep into the bridge. My "Baby" not only screamed, but kicked viciously. However, I knew that the elephant must be bagged, as the half-pound shell had been aimed directly behind the shoulder.

In a few minutes the aggageers arrived; they were bleeding from countless scratches, as, although naked, with the exception of short drawers, they had forced their way on horseback through the thorny path cleft by the herd in rushing through the jungle. Abou Do had blood upon his sword. They had found the elephants commencing a retreat to the interior of the country, and they had arrived just in time to turn them. Following them at full speed, Abou Do had succeeded in overtaking and slashing the sinew of an elephant just as it was entering the jungle. Thus the aggageers had secured one, in addition to Fiorian's elephant that had been slashed by Jali. We now hunted for the "Baby's" elephant, which was almost immediately discovered lying dead within a hundred and fifty yards of the place where it had received the shot. The shell had entered close to the shoulder, and it was extraordinary that an animal should have been able to travel so great a distance with a wound through the lungs by a shell that had exploded within the body.

We had done pretty well. I had been fortunate in bagging four from this herd, in addition to the single bull in the morning; total, five. Florian had killed one, and the aggageers one; total, seven elephants. One had escaped that I had wounded in the shoulder, and two that had been wounded by Florian.

The aggageers were delighted, and they determined to search for the wounded elephants on the following day, as the evening was advancing, and we were about five miles from camp. Having my measuring-tape in a game-bag that was always carried by Abdoolahi, I measured accurately one of the elephants that had fallen with the legs stretched out, so that the height to the shoulder could be exactly taken: - From foot to shoulder in a direct line, nine feet one inch; circumference of foot, four feet eight inches. The elephant lying by her side was still larger, but the legs being doubled up, I could not measure her: these were females.

We now left the jungle, and found our horses waiting for us in the bed of the river by the water side, and we rode towards our camp well satisfied with the day's work. Upon entering an open plain of low withered grass we perceived a boar, who upon our approach showed no signs of fear, but insolently erected his tail and scrutinised our party. Florian dismounted and fired a shot, which passed through his flank, and sent the boar flying off at full speed. Abou Do and I gave chase on horseback, and after a run of a few hundred yards we overtook the boar, which turned resolutely to bay.

In a short time the whole party arrived, and, as Florian had wounded the animal, his servant Richarn considered that he should give the coup de grace; but upon his advancing with his drawn knife, the boar charged desperately, and inflicted a serious wound across the palm of his hand, which was completely divided to the bone by a gash with the sharp tusk. Abou Do immediately rode to the rescue, and with a blow of his sword divided the spine behind the shoulder, and nearly cut the boar in half. By this accident Richarn was disabled for some days.

Upon our arrival at the camp, there were great rejoicings among our people at the result of the day's sport. Old Moosa, the half fortune-teller, half priest, of the Tokrooris, had in our absence employed himself in foretelling the number of elephants we should kill. His method of conjuring was rather perplexing, and, although a mystery beyond my understanding, it might be simple to an English spiritualist or spirit-rapper; he had nevertheless satisfied both himself and others, therefore the party had been anxiously waiting our return to hear the result. Of course, old Moosa was wrong, and of course he had a loop-hole for escape, and thereby preserved his reputation. The aggageers expected to find our wounded elephants on the following morning, if dead, by the flights of vultures. That night the lions again serenaded us with constant roaring, as they had still some bones to gnaw of the buffalo's remains.

At daybreak the next morning, the aggageers in high glee mounted their horses, and with a long retinue of camels, and men provided with axes and knives, together with large gum sacks to contain the flesh, they quitted the camp to cut up the numerous elephants. As I had no taste for this disgusting work, I took two of my Tokrooris, Hadji Ali and Hassan, and, accompanied by old Abou Do, the father of the sheik, with his harpoon, we started along the margin of the river in quest of hippopotami.

The harpoon for hippopotamus and crocodile hunting is a piece of soft steel about eleven inches long, with a narrow blade or point of about three-quarters of an inch in width, and a single but powerful barb. To this short, and apparently insignificant weapon, a strong rope is secured, about twenty feet in length, at the extremity of which is a buoy or float as large as a child's head formed of an extremely light wood called ambatch (Anemone mirabilis), that is about half the specific gravity of cork. The extreme end of the short harpoon is fixed in the point of a bamboo about ten feet long, around which the rope is twisted, while the buoy end is carried in the left hand.

The old Abou Do being resolved upon work, had divested himself of his tope or toga before starting, according to the general custom of the aggageers, who usually wear a simple piece of leather wound round the loins when hunting, but, I believe in respect for our party, they had provided themselves with a garment resembling bathing drawers, such as are worn in France, Germany, and other civilized countries; but the old Abou Do, like the English, had resisted any such innovation, and he accordingly appeared with nothing on but his harpoon; and a more superb old Neptune I never beheld. He carried this weapon in his hand, as the trident with which the old sea-god ruled the monsters of the deep; and as the tall Arab patriarch of threescore years and ten, with his long grey locks flowing over his brawny shoulders, stepped as lightly as a goat from rock to rock along the rough margin of the river, I followed him in admiration.

The country was very beautiful; we were within twenty miles of lofty mountains, while at a distance of about thirty-five or forty miles were the high peaks of the Abyssinian Alps. The entire land was richly wooded, although open, and adapted for hunting upon horseback. Through this wild and lovely country the river Settite flowed in an ever-changing course. At times the bed was several hundred yards wide, with the stream, contracted at this season, flowing gently over rounded pebbles; the water was as clear as glass; in other places huge masses of rock impeded the flow of water, and caused dangerous rapids; then, as the river passed through a range of hills, perpendicular cliffs of sandstone and of basalt walled it within a narrow channel, through which it rushed with great impetuosity; issuing from these straits it calmed its fury in a deep and broad pool, from which it again commenced a gentle course over sands and pebbles. At that season the river would have been perfection for salmon, being a series of rapids, shallows, deep and rocky gorges, and quiet silent pools of unknown depth; in the latter places of security the hippopotami retreated after their nocturnal rambles upon terra firma. The banks of this beautiful river were generally thickly clothed with bright green nabbuk trees, that formed a shelter for INNUMERABLE guinea-fowl, and the black francolin partridge. Herds of antelopes of many varieties were forced to the river to drink, as the only water within many miles; but these never remained long among the thick nabbuk, as the lions and leopards inhabited that covert expressly to spring upon the unwary animal whose thirst prompted a too heedless advance. Wherever there was a sand bank in the river, a crocodile basked in the morning sunshine: some of these were of enormous size.

Hippopotami had trodden a path along the margin of the river, as these animals came out to feed shortly after dark, and travelled from pool to pool. Wherever a plot of tangled and succulent herbage grew among the shady nabbuks, there were the marks of the harrow-like teeth, that had torn and rooted up the rank grass like an agricultural implement.

After walking about two miles, we noticed a herd of hippopotami in a pool below a rapid: this was surrounded by rocks, except upon one side, where the rush of water had thrown up a bank of pebbles and sand. Our old Neptune did not condescend to bestow the slightest attention when I pointed out these animals; they were too wide awake; but he immediately quitted the river's bed, and we followed him quietly behind the fringe of bushes upon the border, from which we carefully examined the water. About half a mile below this spot, as we clambered over the intervening rocks through a gorge which formed a powerful rapid, I observed, in a small pool just below the rapid, an immense head of a hippopotamus close to a perpendicular rock that formed a wall to the river, about six feet above the surface. I pointed out the hippo to old Abou Do, who had not seen it. At once the gravity of the old Arab disappeared, and the energy of the hunter was exhibited as he motioned us to remain, while he ran nimbly behind the thick screen of bushes for about a hundred and fifty yards below the spot where the hippo was unconsciously basking, with his ugly head above the surface. Plunging into the rapid torrent, the veteran hunter was carried some distance down the stream, but breasting the powerful current, he landed upon the rocks on the opposite side, and retiring to some distance from the river, he quickly advanced towards the spot beneath which the hippopotamus was lying. I had a fine view of the scene, as I was lying concealed exactly opposite the hippo, who had disappeared beneath the water. Abou Do now stealthily approached the ledge of rock beneath which he had expected to see the head of the animal; his long sinewy arm was raised, with the harpoon ready to strike, as he carefully advanced. At length he reached the edge of the perpendicular rock; the hippo had vanished, but, far from exhibiting surprise, the old Arab remained standing on the sharp ledge, unchanged in attitude. No figure of bronze could have been more rigid than that of the old river-king, as he stood erect upon the rock with the left foot advanced, and the harpoon poised in his ready right hand above his head, while in the left he held the loose coils of rope attached to the ambatch buoy. For about three minutes he stood like a statue, gazing intently into the clear and deep water beneath his feet. I watched eagerly for the reappearance of the hippo; the surface of the water was still barren, when suddenly the right arm of the statue descended like lightning, and the harpoon shot perpendicularly into the pool with the speed of an arrow. What river-fiend answered to the summons? In an instant an enormous pair of open jaws appeared, followed by the ungainly head and form of the furious hippopotamus, who, springing half out of the water, lashed the river into foam, and, disdaining the concealment of the deep pool, he charged straight up the violent rapids. With extraordinary power he breasted the descending stream; gaining a footing in the rapids, about five feet deep, he ploughed his way against the broken waves, sending them in showers of spray upon all sides, and upon gaining broader shallows he tore along through the water, with the buoyant float hopping behind him along the surface, until he landed from the river, started at full gallop along the dry shingly bed, and at length disappeared in the thorny nabbuk jungle.

I never could have imagined that so unwieldy an animal could have exhibited such speed; no man would have had a chance of escape, and it was fortunate for our old Neptune that he was secure upon the high ledge of rock, for if he had been in the path of the infuriated beast. there would have been an end of Abou Do. The old man plunged into the deep pool just quitted by the hippo, and landed upon our side; while in the enthusiasm of the moment I waved my cap above my head, and gave him a British cheer as he reached the shore. His usually stern features relaxed into a grim smile of delight: this was one of those moments when the gratified pride of the hunter rewards him for any risks. I congratulated him upon his dexterity: but much remained to be done. I proposed to cross the river, and to follow upon the tracks of the hippopotamus, as I imagined that the buoy and rope would catch in the thick jungle, and that we should find him entangled in the bush; but the old hunter gently laid his hand upon my arm, and pointed up the bed of the river, explaining that the hippo would certainly return to the water after a short interval.

In a few minutes later, at a distance of nearly half a mile, we observed the hippo emerge from the jungle, and descend at full trot to the bed of the river, making direct for the first rocky pool in which we had noticed the herd of hippopotami. Accompanied by the old howarti (hippo hunter), we walked quickly towards the spot: he explained to me that I must shoot the harpooned hippo, as we should not be able to secure him in the usual method by ropes, as nearly all our men were absent from camp, disposing of the dead elephants.

Upon reaching the pool, which was about a hundred and thirty yards in diameter, we were immediately greeted by the hippo, who snorted and roared as we approached, but quickly dived, and the buoyant float ran along the surface, directing his course in the same manner as the cork of a trimmer with a pike upon the hook. Several times he appeared, but, as he invariably faced us, I could not obtain a favourable shot; I therefore sent the old hunter round the pool, and he, swimming the river, advanced to the opposite side, and attracted the attention of the hippo who immediately turned towards him. This afforded me a good chance, and I fired a steady shot behind the ear, at about seventy yards, with a single-barrelled rifle. As usual with hippopotami, whether dead or alive, he disappeared beneath the water at the shot. The crack of the ball and the absence of any splash from the bullet told me that he was hit; the ambatch float remained perfectly stationary upon the surface. I watched it for some minutes - it never moved; several heads of hippopotami appeared and vanished in different directions, but the float was still; it marked the spot where the grand old bull lay dead beneath.

I shot another hippo, that I thought must be likewise dead; and, taking the time by my watch, I retired to the shade of a tree with Hassan, while Hadji Ali and the old hunter returned to camp for assistance in men and knives, &c.

In a little more than an hour and a half, two objects like the backs of turtles appeared above the surface: these were the flanks of the two hippos. A short time afterwards the men arrived, and, regardless of crocodiles, they swam towards the bodies. One was towed directly to the shore by the rope attached to the harpoon, the other was secured by a long line, and dragged to the bank of clean pebbles.

I measured the bull that was harpooned; it was fourteen feet two inches from the upper lip to the extremity of the tail; the head was three feet one inch from the front of the ear to the edge of the lip in a straight line. The harpoon was sticking in the nape of the neck, having penetrated about two and a half inches beneath the hide; this is about an inch and three-quarters thick upon the back of the neck of a bull hippopotamus. It was a magnificent specimen, with the largest tusks I have ever seen; the skull is now in my hall in England.

Although the hippopotamus is generally harmless, the solitary old bulls are sometimes extremely vicious, especially when in the water. I have frequently known them charge a boat, and I have myself narrowly escaped being upset in a canoe by the attack of one of these creatures, without the slightest provocation. The females are extremely shy and harmless, and they are most affectionate mothers: the only instances that I have known of the female attacking a man, have been those in which her calf had been stolen. To the Arabs they are extremely valuable, yielding, in addition to a large quantity of excellent flesh, about two hundred pounds of fat, and a hide that will produce about two hundred coorbatches, or camel whips. I have never shot these useful creatures to waste; every morsel of the flesh has been stored either by the natives or for our own use; and whenever we have had a good supply of antelope or giraffe meat, I have avoided firing a shot at the hippo. Elephant flesh is exceedingly strong and disagreeable, partaking highly of the peculiar smell of the animal. We had now a good supply of meat from the two hippopotami, which delighted our people. The old Abou Do claimed the bull that he had harpooned as his own private property, and he took the greatest pains in dividing the hide longitudinally, in strips of the width of three fingers, which he cut with great dexterity.

Although the hippopotamus is amphibious, he requires a large and constant supply of air; the lungs are of enormous size, and he invariably inflates them before diving. From five to eight minutes is the time that he usually remains under water; he then comes to the surface, and expends the air within his lungs by blowing; he again refills the lungs almost instantaneously, and if frightened, he sinks immediately. In places where they have become extremely shy from being hunted, or fired at, they seldom expose the head above the surface, but merely protrude the nose to breathe through the nostrils; it is then impossible to shoot them. Their food consists of aquatic plants, and grasses of many descriptions. Not only do they visit the margin of the river, but they wander at night to great distances from the water if attracted by good pasturage, and, although clumsy and ungainly in appearance, they clamber up steep banks and precipitous ravines with astonishing power and ease. In places where they are perfectly undisturbed, they not only enjoy themselves in the sunshine by basking half asleep upon the surface of the water, but they lie upon the shore beneath the shady trees, upon the river's bank; I have seen them, when disturbed by our sudden arrival during the march, take a leap from a bank about twenty feet perpendicular depth into the water below, with a splash that has created waves in the quiet pool, as though a paddle-steamer had passed by. The Arabs attach no value to the tusks; these are far more valuable than elephant ivory, and are used by dentists in Europe for the manufacture of false teeth, for which they are admirably adapted, as they do not change colour. Not wishing to destroy the remaining hippopotami that were still within the pool, I left my men and old Abou Do busily engaged in arranging the meat, and I walked quietly homeward.