CHAPTER XIV. A FOREBODING OF EVIL.

I HAD been for some hours in the camp, but none of the aggageers had returned, neither had we received any tidings of our people and camels that had left us at daybreak to search for the dead elephants. Fearing that some mishap might have occurred in a collision with the Base, I anxiously looked out for some sign of the party. At about 4 P.M. I observed far up the bed of the river several men, some mounted, and others upon foot, while one led a camel with a curious looking load. Upon a nearer approach I could distinguish some large object upon the camel's back, that was steadied by two men, one of whom walked on either side. I had a foreboding that something was wrong, and in a few minutes I clearly perceived a man lying upon a make-shift litter, carried by the camel, while the Sheik Abou Do and Suleiman accompanied the party upon horseback; a third led Jali's little grey mare.

They soon arrived beneath the high bank of the river upon which I stood. Poor little Jali, my plucky and active ally, lay, as I thought, dead upon the litter. We laid him gently upon my angarep, which I had raised by four men, so that we could lower him gradually from the kneeling camel, and we carried him to the camp, about thirty yards distant. He was faint, and I poured some essence of peppermint (the only spirit I possessed) down his throat, which quickly revived him. His thigh was broken about eight inches above the knee, but fortunately it was a simple fracture.

Abou Do now explained the cause of the accident. While the party of camel-men and others were engaged in cutting up the dead elephants, the three aggageers had found the track of a bull that had escaped wounded. In that country, where there was no drop of water upon the east bank of the Settite for a distance of sixty or seventy miles to the river Gash, an elephant if wounded was afraid to trust itself to the interior; one of our escaped elephants had therefore returned to the thick jungle, and was tracked by the aggageers to a position within two or three hundred yards of the dead elephants. As there were no guns, two of the aggageers, utterly reckless of consequences, resolved to ride through the narrow passages formed by the large game, and to take their chance with the elephant, sword in hand. Jali, as usual, was the first to lead, and upon his little grey mare he advanced with the greatest difficulty through the entangled thorns, broken by the passage of heavy game; to the right and left of the passage it was impossible to move. Abou Do had wisely dismounted, but Suleiman followed Jali. Upon arriving within a few yards of the elephant, which was invisible in the thick thorns, Abou Do crept forward on foot, and discovered it standing with ears cocked, evidently waiting for the attack. As Jali followed on his light grey mare, the elephant immediately perceived the white colour, and at once charged forward. Escape was next to impossible: Jali turned his mare sharp round, and she bounded off, but caught in the thorns, the mare fell, throwing her rider in the path of the elephant that was within a few feet behind, in full chase. The mare recovered herself in an instant, and rushed away; the elephant, occupied by the white colour of the animal, neglected the man, upon whom he trod in the pursuit, thus breaking his thigh. Abou Do, who had been between the elephant and Jali, had wisely jumped into the thick thorns, and, as the elephant passed him, he again sprang out behind, and followed with his drawn sword, but too late to save Jali, as it was the affair of an instant. Jumping over Jali's body, he was just in time to deliver a tremendous cut at the hind leg of the elephant, that must otherwise have killed both horses and probably Suleiman also, as the three were caught in a cul de sac in a passage that had no outlet, and were at the elephant's mercy.

Abou Do seldom failed; it was a difficult feat to strike correctly in the narrow jungle passage with the elephant in full speed, but the blow was fairly given, and the back sinew was divided. Not content with the success of the cut, he immediately repeated the stroke upon the other leg, as he feared that the elephant, although disabled from rapid motion, might turn and trample Jali. The extraordinary dexterity and courage required to effect this can hardly be appreciated by those who have never hunted a wild elephant; but the extreme agility, pluck, and audacity of these Hamran sword-hunters surpass all feats that I have ever witnessed.

I set Jali's broken thigh, and employed myself in making splints; fortunately, my tool-chest was at hand, and I selected some pieces of dry wood that had been left on the bank by the retiring river. I made two splints, one with a crutch to fit beneath the arm; this I carried to about three inches beyond the foot, and cut a V-shaped notch to secure the bandage; the other was a common short splint about eighteen inches long. My wife quickly made about sixty yards of bandages, while Barrak, the maid, prepared thick gum water, from gum arabic, that the mimosas produced in unlimited quantity. Fixing the long splint under the arm, and keeping it upon the outside of the thigh, with the leg perfectly straight, I lashed the foot and ankle securely to the V-shaped notch: I then strapped the upper portion of the splint with bandages passed around the patient's chest, until he was swathed from beneath the arms to the hips, thus securing the splint to his body. The thigh, and entire leg from the fork to the ankle, I carefully secured to the long splint with three rows of bandages, the first plain, and the last two layers were soaked in thick gum-water. When these became dry and hard, they formed a case like an armour of paste-board: previous to bandaging the limb in splints, I had bathed it for some hours with cold applications.

On the following morning I expected to find my patient in great pain; but, on the contrary, he complained very little. His pulse was good, and there was very little swelling or heat. I gave him some cooling medicine; and the only anxiety that he expressed was the wish to get well immediately, so as to continue the expedition.

The Arabs thought that I could mend the leg of a man as though it were the broken stock of a gun, that would be serviceable immediately when repaired. As these people never use spirituous liquors, they are very little subject to inflammation, and they recover quickly from wounds that would be serious to Europeans. I attended to Jali for four days. He was a very grateful, but unruly patient, as he had never been accustomed to remain quiet. At the end of that time we arranged an angarep comfortably upon a camel, upon which he was transported to Geera, in company with a long string of camels, heavily laden with dried meat and squares of hide for shields, with large bundles of hippopotamus skin for whip making, together with the various spoils of the chase. Last, but not least, were numerous leathern pots of fat that had been boiled down from elephants and hippopotami.

The camels were to return as soon as possible with supplies of corn for onr people and horses. Another elephant-hunter was to be sent to us in the place of Jali; but I felt that we had lost our best man.*

* I heard from Jali six weeks later; he was then well,

and offered to rejoin us shortly, but I declined to

risk the strength of his leg.

Although my people had been in the highest spirits up to this time, a gloom had been thrown over the party by two causes - Jali's accident, and the fresh footmarks of the Base that had been discovered upon the sand by the margin of the river. The aggageers feared nothing, and if the Base had been legions of demons they would have faced them, sword in hand, with the greatest pleasure. But my Tokrooris, who were brave in some respects, had been so cowed by the horrible stories recounted of these common enemies at the nightly camp-fires by the Hamran Arabs, that they were seized with a panic, and resolved to desert en masse, and return to Katariff, where I had originally engaged them, and at which place they had left their families.

This desertion having been planned, they came to me in a body, just as the camels and Jali were about to depart, and commenced a series of absurd excuses for their intended desertion. The old grey-headed Moosa, by whose fortune-telling and sorcery the party were invariably guided, had foretold evil. This had confirmed them in their determination to return home. They were not a bad set of fellows, but, like most of their class, they required peculiar management. If natives are driven, they invariably hate their master, and turn sulky; if you give in to them, they lose respect, and will never obey. They are exceedingly subject to sudden impulses, under the influence of which they are utterly unreasonable. As the expedition depends for success entirely upon the union of the party, it is highly necessary to obtain so complete a control over every individual, that the leader shall be regarded with positive reverence, and his authority in all matters accepted as supreme. To gain such a complete ascendancy is a work of time, and is no easy matter, as an extreme amount of tact and judgment is necessary, combined with great kindness and common sense, with, at times, great severity. The latter should be avoided as long as possible.

In this instance, the desertion of my Tokrooris would have been a great blow to my expedition, as it was necessary to have a division of parties. I had now Tokrooris, Jaleens, and Hamran Arabs. Thus they would never unite together, and I was certain to have some upon my side in a difficulty. Should I lose the Tokrooris, the Hamran Arabs would have the entire preponderance.

The whole of my Tokrooris formed in line before me and my wife, just as the camels were about to leave; each man had his little bundle prepared for starting on a journey. Old Moosa was the spokesman, - he said that they were all very sorry: that they regretted exceedingly the necessity of leaving us, but some of them were sick, and they would only be a burden to the expedition; that one of them was bound upon a pilgrimage to Mecca, and that God would punish him should he neglect this great duty; others had not left any money with their families in Katariff, that would starve in their absence. (I had given them an advance of wages, when they engaged at Katariff, to provide against this difficulty.) I replied, "My good fellows, I am very sorry to hear all this, especially as it comes upon me so suddenly; those who are sick, stand upon one side" (several invalids, who looked remarkably healthy, stepped to the left). "Who wishes to go to Mecca?" Abderachman stepped forward (a huge specimen of a Tokroori, who went by the nickname of "El Jamoos," or the buffalo.) "Who wishes to remit money to his family, as I will send it and deduct it from his wages?" No one came forward. During the pause, I called for pen and paper, which Mahomet brought. I immediately commenced writing, and placed the note within an envelope, which I addressed, and gave to one of the camel-drivers. I then called for my medicine chest, and having weighed several three-grain doses of tartar emetic, I called the invalids, and insisted upon their taking the medicine before they started, or they might become seriously ill upon the road, which for three days' march was uninhabited. Mixed with a little water, the doses were swallowed, and I knew that the invalids were safe for that day, and that the others would not start without them.

I now again addressed my would-be deserters: "Now, my good fellows, there shall be no misunderstanding between us, and I will explain to you how the case stands. You engaged yourselves to me for the whole journey, and you received an advance of wages to provide for your families during your absence. You have lately filled yourselves with meat, and you have become lazy; you have been frightened by the footprints of the Base; thus you wish to leave the country. To save yourselves from imaginary danger, you would forsake my wife and myself and leave us to a fate which you yourselves would avoid. This is your gratitude for kindness; this is the return for my confidence, when without hesitation I advanced you money. Go! Return to Katariff to your families! I know that all the excuses you have made are false. Those who declare themselves to be sick, Inshallah (please God) shall be sick. You will all be welcomed upon your arrival at Katariff. In the letter I have written to the Governor, inclosing your names, I have requested him to give each man upon his appearance FIVE HUNDRED LASHES WITH THE COORBATCH, FOR DESERTION; and to imprison him until my return."

Check-mate! My poor Tokrooris were in a corner, and in their great dilemma they could not answer a word. Taking advantage of this moment of confusion, I called forward "the buffalo" Abderachman, as I had heard that he really had contemplated a pilgrimage to Mecca. "Abderachman," I continued, "you are the only man who has spoken the truth. Go to Mecca! and may God protect you on the journey; I should not wish to prevent you from performing your duty as a Mahometan."

Never were people more dumbfounded with surprise; they retreated, and formed a knot in consultation, and in about ten minutes they returned to me, old Moosa and Hadji Ali both leading the pilgrim Abderachman by the hands. They had given in; and Abderachman, the buffalo of the party, thanked me for my permission, and with tears in his eyes, as the camels were about to start, he at once said good-bye. "Embrace him!" cried old Moosa and Hadji Ali; and in an instant, as I had formerly succumbed to the maid Barrake, I was actually kissed by the thick lips of Abderachman the unwashed! Poor fellow! this was sincere gratitude without the slightest humbug; therefore, although he was an odoriferous savage, I could not help shaking him by the hand and wishing him a prosperous journey, assuring him that I would watch over his comrades like a father, while in my service. In a few instants these curious people were led by a sudden and new impulse; my farewell had perfectly delighted old Moosa and Hadji Ali, whose hearts were won. "Say good-bye to the Sit!" (the lady) they shouted to Abderachman; but I assured them that it was not necessary to go through the whole operation to which I had been subjected, and that she would be contented if he only kissed her hand. This he did with the natural grace of a savage, and was led away crying by his companions, who embraced him with tears, and they parted with the affection of brothers.

Now to hard-hearted and civilized people, who often school themselves to feel nothing, or as little as they can, for anybody, it may appear absurd to say that the scene was affecting, but somehow or other it was; and in the course of half-an-hour, those who would have deserted had become staunch friends, and we were all, black and white, Mahometans and Christians, wishing the pilgrim God speed upon his perilous journey to Mecca.

The camels started, and, if the scene was affecting, the invalids began to be more affected by the tartar emetic; this was the third act of the comedy. The plot had been thoroughly ventilated: the last act exhibited the perfect fidelity of my Tokrooris, in whom I subsequently reposed much confidence.

In the afternoon of that day, the brothers Sheriff arrived; these were the most renowned of all the sword-hunters of the Hamrans, of whom I have already spoken; they were well mounted, and, having met our caravan of camels on the route, heavily laden with dried flesh, and thus seen proofs of our success, they now offered to join our party. I am sorry to be obliged to confess, that my ally, Abou Do, although a perfect Nimrod in sport, an Apollo in personal appearance, and a gentleman in manner, was a mean, covetous, and grasping fellow, and withal absurdly jealous. Taher Sheriff was a more celebrated hunter, having had the experience of at least twenty years in excess of Abou Do, and although the latter was as brave and dexterous as Taher and his brothers, he wanted the cool judgment that is essential to a first-rate sportsman. He was himself aware of his inferiority to Taher Sheriff, though too proud to admit it; but, to avoid competition he declined to allow the Sheriffs to join our party, declaring that if I insisted upon the fresh alliance, he and his comrade Suleiman would return home. Notwithstanding his objections, I arranged for the present that, as Jali was hors de combat, Taher Sheriff's party should join us until the arrival of a fresh hunter in his place, otherwise our party would be incomplete. To prevent complications, the greedy Abou Do selected his share of the ivory, carefully choosing the best and most perfect tusks, and he presented Taher's party with a small quantity of meat that would render them independent of his hospitality. I at once ordered my people to give them a large supply of both meat and corn from my own store, and they encamped in a quarter of our circle.

The following day was the new year, January 1st, 1862; and, with the four brothers Sheriff and our party, we formed a powerful body of hunters: six aggageers and myself, all well mounted. With four gun-bearers, and two camels, both of which carried water, we started in search of elephants. Florian was unwell, and remained in camp.

In this dry climate it was only necessary to ride along the margin of the river to look for fresh tracks, as the animals were compelled to visit the Settite to drink, and of course there was no difficulty in discovering their traces. It appeared, however, that the elephants had been frightened away from the neighbourhood by the recent attack, as we rode for about ten miles without seeing any fresh marks. We therefore struck inland, on the east bank of the river, intending to return home by a circuit. The country was exactly like an English park, with no larger timber than thorn trees. Every now and then there was an exception in a gigantic homera (Adansonia digitata), or baobab; these, towering over the heads of the low mimosas, could be seen from a great distance. Having steered direct for one, we halted, and dismounted to rest the horses beneath the shade. This tree was about forty feet in circumference, and the spongy trunk was formed into a ladder by pegs of hard wood driven into its side by the Base hunters, who had thus ascended the slippery stem in search of honey. Bees are very fond of these trees, as they are generally more or less hollow, and well adapted for hives. The Adansonia digitata, although a tree, always reminds me of a gigantic fungus; the stem is disproportioned in its immense thickness to its height, and its branches are few in number, and as massive in character as the stem. The wood is not much firmer in substance than cork, and is as succulent as a carrot. In Kordofan, where water is exceedingly scarce, the Adansonia is frequently used as a reservoir; one of these huge hollow trees is cleaned out and filled with water during the short rainy season. The fruit was ripe at the time we halted, and after many attempts, by throwing sticks, we succeeded in procuring a considerable number. The sub-acid flavour of the seeds, enveloped in a dry yellow powder within the large shell, was exceedingly refreshing.

The immediate neighbourhood was a perfect exhibition of gum-arabic-bearing mimosas. At this season the gum was in perfection, and the finest quality was now before us in beautiful amber-coloured masses upon the stems and branches, varying from the size of a nutmeg to that of an orange. So great was the quantity, and so excellent were the specimens, that, leaving our horses tied to trees, both the Arabs and myself gathered a large collection. This gum, although as hard as ice on the exterior, was limpid in the centre, resembling melted amber, and as clear as though refined by some artificial process. The trees were perfectly denuded of leaves from the extreme drought, and the beautiful balls of frosted yellow gum recalled the idea of the precious jewels upon the trees in the garden of the wonderful lamp of the "Arabian nights." This gum was exceedingly sweet and pleasant to the taste; but, although of the most valuable quality, there was no hand to gather it in this forsaken, although beautiful country; it either dissolved during the rainy season, or was consumed by the baboons and antelopes. The aggageers took off from their saddles the skins of tanned antelope leather that formed the only covering to the wooden seats, and with these they made bundles of gum. When we remounted, every man was well laden.

We were thus leisurely returning home through alternate plains and low open forest of mimosa, when Taher Sheriff, who was leading the party, suddenly reined up his horse, and pointed to a thick bush, beneath which was a large grey, but shapeless, mass. He whispered, as I drew near, "Oom gurrin" (mother of the horn), their name for the rhinoceros. I immediately dismounted, and, with the short No. 10 Tatham rifle I advanced as near as I could, followed by Suleiman, as I had sent all my gun-bearers direct home by the river when we had commenced our circuit. As I drew near, I discovered two rhinoceros asleep beneath a thick mass of bushes; they were lying like pigs, close together, so that at a distance I had been unable to distinguish any exact form. It was an awkward place; if I were to take the wind fairly, I should have to fire through the thick bush, which would be useless; therefore I was compelled to advance with the wind direct from me to them. The aggageers remained about a hundred yards distant, while I told Suleiman to return, and hold my horse in readiness with his own. I then walked quietly to within about thirty yards of the rhinoceros, but so curiously were they lying that it was useless to attempt a shot. In their happy dreams they must have been suddenly disturbed by the scent of an enemy, for, without the least warning, they suddenly sprang to their feet with astonishing quickness, and with a loud and sharp whiff, whiff, whiff! one of them charged straight at me. I fired my right-hand barrel in his throat, as it was useless to aim at the head protected by two horns at the nose. This turned him, but had no other effect, and the two animals thundered off together at a tremendous pace.

Now for a "tally ho!" Our stock of gum was scattered on the ground, and away went the aggageers in full speed after the two rhinoceros. Without waiting to reload, I quickly remounted my horse Tetel, and, with Suleiman in company, I spurred hard to overtake the flying Arabs. Tetel was a good strong cob, but not very fast; however, I believe he never went so well as upon that day, for, although an Abyssinian horse, I had a pair of English spurs, which worked like missionaries, but with a more decided result. The ground was awkward for riding at full speed, as it was an open forest of mimosas, which, although wide apart, were very difficult to avoid, owing to the low crowns of spreading branches; these, being armed with fish-hook thorns, would have been serious on a collision. I kept the party in view, until in about a mile we arrived upon open ground. Here I again applied the spur, and by degrees I crept up, always gaining, until I at length joined the aggageers.

Here was a sight to drive a hunter wild! The two rhinoceros were running neck and neck, like a pair of horses in harness, but bounding along at tremendous speed within ten yards of the leading Hamran. This was Taher Sheriff, who, with his sword drawn, and his long hair flying wildly behind him, urged his horse forward in the race, amidst a cloud of dust raised by the two huge but active beasts, that tried every sinew of the horses. Roder Sheriff, with the withered arm, was second; with the reins hung upon the hawk-like claw that was all that remained of a hand, but with his naked sword grasped in his right, he kept close to his brother, ready to second his blow. Abou Do was third; his hair flying in the wind - his heels dashing against the flanks of his horse, to which he shouted in his excitement to urge him to the front, while he leant forward with his long sword, in the wild energy of the moment, as though hoping to reach the game against all possibility. Now for the spurs! and as these, vigorously applied, screwed an extra stride out of Tetel, I soon found myself in the ruck of men, horses, and drawn swords. There were seven of us, - and passing Abou Do, whose face wore an expression of agony at finding that his horse was failing, I quickly obtained a place between the two brothers, Taher and Roder Sheriff. There had been a jealousy between the two parties of aggageers, and each was striving to outdo the other; thus Abou Do was driven almost to madness at the superiority of Taher's horse, while the latter, who was the renowned hunter of the tribe, was determined that his sword should be the first to taste blood. I tried to pass the rhinoceros on my left, so as to fire close into the shoulder my remaining barrel with my right hand, but it was impossible to overtake the animals, who bounded along with undiminished speed. With the greatest exertion of men and horses we could only retain our position within about three or four yards of their tails - just out of reach of the swords. The only chance in the race was to hold the pace until the rhinoceros should begin to flag. The horses were pressed to the utmost; but we had already run about two miles, and the game showed no signs of giving in. On they flew, - sometimes over open ground, then through low bush, which tried the horses severely; then through strips of open forest, until at length the party began to tail off, and only a select few kept their places. We arrived at the summit of a ridge, from which the ground sloped in a gentle inclination for about a mile towards the river; at the foot of this incline was thick thorny nabbuk jungle, for which impenetrable covert the rhinoceros pressed at their utmost speed. Never was there better ground for the finish of a race; the earth was sandy, but firm, and as we saw the winning-post in the jungle that must terminate the hunt, we redoubled our exertions to close with the unflagging game. Suleiman's horse gave in - we had been for about twenty minutes at a killing pace. Tetel, although not a fast horse, was good for a distance, and he now proved his power of endurance, as I was riding at least two stone heavier than any of the party. Only four of the seven remained; and we swept down the incline, Taher Sheriff still leading, and Abou Do the last! His horse was done, but not the rider; for, springing to the ground while at full speed, sword in hand, he forsook his tired horse, and, preferring his own legs, he ran like an antelope, and, for the first hundred yards, I thought he would really pass us, and win the honour of first blow. It was of no use, the pace was too severe, and, although running wonderfully, he was obliged to give way to the horses. Only three now followed the rhinoceros - Taher Sheriff, his brother Roder, and myself. I had been obliged to give the second place to Roder, as he was a mere monkey in weight; but I was a close third. The excitement was intense - we neared the jungle, and the rhinoceros began to show signs of flagging, as the dust puffed up before their nostrils, and, with noses close to the ground, they snorted as they still galloped on. Oh for a fresh horse! "A horse ! a horse! my kingdom for a horse!" We were within two hundred yards of the jungle; but the horses were all done. Tetel reeled as I urged him forward, Roder pushed ahead; we were close to the dense thorns, and the rhinoceros broke into a trot; they were done! "Now, Taher, for-r-a-a-r-r-d! for-r-r-a-a-r-d, Taher!!!" Away he went - he was close to the very heels of the beasts; but his horse could do no more than his present pace; still he gained upon the nearest; he leaned forward with his sword raised for the blow - another moment, and the jungle would be reached! One effort more, and the sword flashed in the sunshine, as the rearmost rhinoceros disappeared in the thick screen of thorns, with a gash about a foot long upon his hind-quarters. Taher Sheriff shook his bloody sword in triumph above his head; but the rhinoceros was gone. We were fairly beaten, regularly outpaced; but I believe another two hundred yards would have given us the victory. "Bravo, Taher," I shouted. He had ridden splendidly, and his b]ow had been marvellously delivered at an extremely long reach, as he was nearly out of his saddle when he sprang forward to enable the blade to obtain a cut at the last moment. He could not reach the hamstring, as his horse could not gain the proper position.

We all immediately dismounted; the horses were thoroughly done, and I at once loosened the girths and contemplated my steed Tetel, who with head lowered, and legs wide apart, was a tolerable example of the effects of pace. The other aggageers shortly arrived, and as the rival Abou Do joined us, Taher Sheriff quietly wiped the blood off his sword without making a remark; this was a bitter moment for the discomfited Abou Do.

Although we had failed, I never enjoyed a hunt so much either before or since; it was a magnificent run, and still more magnificent was the idea that a man, with no weapon but a sword, could attack and generally vanquish every huge animal of creation. I felt inclined to discard all my rifles, and to adopt the sabre, with a first-class horse instead of the common horses of this country, that were totally unfit for such a style of hunting, when carrying nearly fifteen stone.

Taher Sheriff explained that at all times the rhinoceros was the most difficult animal to sabre, on account of his extraordinary swiftness, and, although he had killed many with the sword, it was always after a long and fatiguing hunt: at the close of which, the animal becoming tired, generally turned to bay, in which case one hunter occupied his attention, while another galloped up behind, and severed the hamstring. The rhinoceros, unlike the elephant, can go very well upon three legs, which enhances the danger, as one cut will not utterly disable him.

There is only one species of this animal in Abyssinia; this is the two-horned black rhinoceros, known in South Africa as the keitloa. This animal is generally five feet six inches to five feet eight inches high at the shoulder, and, although so bulky and heavily built, it is extremely active, as our long and fruitless hunt had exemplified. The skin is about half the thickness of that of the hippopotamus, but of extreme toughness and closeness of texture; when dried and polished it resembles horn. Unlike the Indian species of rhinoceros, the black variety of Africa is free from folds, and the hide fits smoothly on the body like that of the buffalo. This two-horned black species is exceedingly vicious; it is one of the very few animals that will generally assume the offensive; it considers all creatures to be enemies, and, although it is not acute in either sight or hearing, it possesses so wonderful a power of scent, that it will detect a stranger at a distance of five or six hundred yards should the wind be favourable.

I have observed that a rhinoceros will generally charge down upon the object that it smells, but does not see; thus when the animal is concealed either in high grass or thick jungle, should it scent a man who may be passing unseen to windward, it will rush down furiously upon the object it has winded, with three loud whiffs, resembling a jet of steam from a safety-valve. As it is most difficult and next to impossible to kill a rhinoceros when charging, on account of the protection to the brain afforded by the horns, an unexpected charge in thick jungle is particularly unpleasant; especially when on horseback, as there is no means of escape but to rush headlong through all obstacles, when the rider will most likely share the fate that befell the unfortunate Jali.

The horns of the black Abyssinian species seldom exceed two feet in length, and are generally much shorter; they are not fitted upon the bone like the horns of all other animals, but are merely rooted upon the thick skin, of which they appear to be a continuation. Although the horn of a rhinoceros is a weapon of immense power, it has no solid foundation, but when the animal is killed, it can be separated from its hold upon the second day after death, by a slight blow with a cane. The base forms an exceedingly shallow cup, and much resembles the heart of an artichoke when the leaves have been picked off. The teeth are very peculiar, as the molars have a projecting cutting edge on the exterior side; thus the jaws when closed form a pair of shears, as the projecting edges of the upper and lower rows overlap: this makes a favourable arrangement of nature to enable the animal to clip off twigs and the branches upon which it feeds, as, although it does not absolutely refuse grass, the rhinoceros is decidedly a wood eater. There are particular bushes which form a great attraction, among these is a dwarf mimosa with a reddish bark: this tree grows in thick masses, which the rhinoceros clips so closely that it frequently resembles a quickset hedge that has been cut by the woodman's shears. These animals are generally seen in pairs, or the male, female, and calf; the mother is very affectionate, and exceedingly watchful and savage. Although so large an animal, the cry is very insignificant, and is not unlike the harsh shrill sound of a penny trumpet. The drinking hour is about 8 P.M. or two hours after sunset, at which time the rhinoceros arrives at the river from his daily retreat, which is usually about four miles in the interior. He approaches the water by regular paths made by himself, but not always by the same route; and, after drinking, he generally retires to a particular spot beneath a tree that has been visited upon regular occasions; in such places large heaps of dung accumulate. The hunters take advantage of this peculiarity of the rhinoceros, and they set traps in the path to his private retreat; but he is so extremely wary, and so acute is the animal's power of scent, that the greatest art is necessary in setting the snare. A circular hole about two feet deep and fifteen inches in diameter is dug in the middle of his run, near to the tree that has been daily visited; upon this hole is placed a hoop of tough wood arranged with a vast number of sharp spikes of a strong elastic wood, which, fastened to the rim, meet in the centre, and overlap each other as would the spokes of a wheel in the absence of the nave, if lengthened sufficiently. We will simplify the hoop by calling it a wheel without a centre, the spokes sharpened and overlapping the middle. The instrument being fitted neatly above the hole, a running noose of the strongest rope is laid in the circle upon the wheel; the other extremity of the rope is fastened to the trunk of a tree that has been felled for that purpose, and deeply notched at one end to prevent the rope from slipping. This log, which weighs about five or six hundredweight, is then buried horizontally in the ground, and the entire trap is covered with earth and carefully concealed; the surface is smoothed over with a branch instead of the hand, as the scent of a human touch would at once be detected by the rhinoceros. When completed, a quantity of the animal's dung is swept from the heap upon the snare. If the trap is undiscovered, the rhinoceros steps upon the hoop, through which his leg sinks into the hole, and upon his attempt to extricate his foot, the noose draws tight over the legs; as the spiked hoop fixing tightly into the skin prevents the noose from slipping over the foot. Once caught, his first effort to escape drags the heavy log from the trench, and as the animal rushes furiously away, this acts as a drag, and by catching in the jungle and the protruding roots of trees, it quickly fatigues him. On the following morning the hunters discover the rhinoceros by the track of the log that has ploughed along the ground, and the animal is killed by lances, or by the sword. The hide of a rhinoceros will produce seven shields; these are worth about two dollars each, as simple hide before manufacture; the horn is sold in Abyssinia for about two dollars per pound, for the manufacture of sword-hilts, which are much esteemed if of this material.

Upon our return to camp, I found that the woman Barrake was ill. She had insisted upon eating a large quantity of the fruit of the hegleek tree (Balanites Aegyptiaca), which abounded in this neighbourhood. This tree is larger than the generality in that country, being about thirty feet in height and eighteen inches in diameter; the ashes of the burnt wood are extremely rich in potash, and the fruit, which is about the size and shape of a date, is sometimes pounded and used by the Arabs in lieu of soap for washing their clothes. This fruit is exceedingly pleasant, but in a raw state it has an irritating effect upon the bowels, and should be used in small quantities. Barrake had been cautioned by the Arabs and ourselves, but she had taken a fancy that she was determined to gratify; therefore she had eaten the forbidden fruit from morning until night, and a grievous attack of diarrhoea was the consequence. My wife had boiled the fruit with wild honey, and had made a most delicious preserve; in this state it was not unwholesome. She had likewise preserved the fruit of the nabbuk in a similar manner: the latter resembles minute apples in appearance, with something of the medlar in flavour; enormous quantities were produced upon the banks of the river, which, falling when ripe, were greedily eaten by guinea-fowl, wild hogs, antelopes, and monkeys. Elephants are particularly fond of the fruit of the hegleek, which, although apparently too insignificant for the attention of such mighty animals, they nevertheless enjoy beyond any other food, and they industriously gather them one by one. At the season when the fruit is ripe, the hegleek tree is a certain attraction to elephants, who shake the branches and pick up the fallen berries with their trunks; frequently they overturn the tree itself, as a more direct manner of feeding.

Florian was quite incapable of hunting, as he was in a weak state of health, and had for some months been suffering from chronic dysentery. I had several times cured him, but, as Barrake insisted upon eating fruit, so he had a weakness for the strongest black coffee, which, instead of drinking, like the natives, in minute cups, he swallowed wholesale in large basins, several times a day; this was actual poison with his complaint, and he was completely ruined in health. He had excellent servants, - Richarn, whom I subsequently engaged, who was my only faithful man in my journey up the White Nile, and two good Dongalowas.

At this time, his old companion, Johann Schmidt, the carpenter, arrived, having undertaken a contract to provide, for the Italian Zoological Gardens, a number of animals. I therefore proposed that the two old friends should continue together, while I would hunt by myself, with the aggageers, towards the east and south.

This arrangement was agreed to, and we parted. In the following season, I engaged this excellent man, Johann Schmidt, as my lieutenant for the White Nile expedition, on the banks of which fatal river he now lies, with the cross that I erected over his grave.

Poor Florian at length recovered from his complaint, but was killed by a lion. He had wounded an elephant, which on the following morning he found dead; a lion had eaten a portion during the night. While he was engaged with his men in extracting the tusks, one of his hunters (a Tokroori) followed the track of the lion on the sand, and found the animal lying beneath a bush; he fired a single-barrelled rifle, and wounded it in the thigh. He at once returned to his master, who accompanied him to the spot, and the lion was found lying under the same bush, licking the wound. Florian fired and missed; the lion immediately crouched for a spring; Florian fired his remaining barrel, the ball merely grazed the lion, who almost in the same instant bounded forward, and struck him upon the head with a fearful blow of the paw, at the same time it seized him by the throat.

The Tokroori hunter, instead of flying from the danger, placed the muzzle of his rifle to the lion's ear, and blew its brains out on the body of his master. The unfortunate Florian had been struck dead, and great difficulty was found in extracting the claws of the lion, which had penetrated the skull. Florian, although a determined hunter, was an exceedingly bad shot, and withal badly armed for encounters with dangerous game; I had frequently prophesied some calamity from the experience I had had in a few days' shooting in his society, and most unhappily my gloomy prediction was fulfilled.

This was the fate of two good and sterling Germans, who had been my companions in this wild country, where degrees of rank are entirely forgotten, provided a man be honest and true. I constantly look back to the European acquaintances and friends that I made during my sojourn in Africa, nearly all of whom are dead: a merciful Providence guided us through many dangers and difficulties, and shielded us from all harm, during nearly five years of constant exposure. Thanks be to God.

Our camels returned from Geera with corn, accompanied by an Abyssinian hunter, who was declared by Abou Do to be a good man, and dexterous with the sword. We accordingly moved our camp, said adieu to Florian and Johann, and penetrated still deeper into the Base.