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of shady trees, but the wounded one was some distance behind with another elephant, doubtless its particular friend, who was endeavoring to assist it.
These elephants had probably never before heard the report of a gun, and, having neither seen nor smelt me, they were unaware of the presence of man, and did not seem inclined to go any further.
Presently my men hove in sight, bringing the dogs and when these came up, I waited some time before commencing the attack, that the dogs and horses might recover their wind. We then rode slowly toward the elephants, and had advanced within two hundred yards of them, when, the ground being open, they observed us, and made off in an easterly direction; but the wounded one immediately dropped astern, and the next moment was surrounded by the dogs, which, barking angrily, seemed to engross her attention.
Having placed myself between her and the retreating troop, I dismounted to fire within forty yards of her, in open ground. Colesberg was extremely afraid of the elephants, and gave me much trouble, jerking my arm when I tried to fire. At length I let fly; but, on endeavoring to regain my saddle, Colesberg declined to allow me to mount; and when I tried to lead him, and run for it, he only backed toward the wounded elephant. At this moment I heard another elephant close behind; and on looking about, I beheld the “friend,” with uplifted trunk, charging down upon me at top speed, shrilly trumpeting, and following an old black pointer name Schwart, that was perfectly deaf, and trotted along before the enraged elephant quite unaware of what was behind him. I felt certain that she would have either me or my horse. I, however, determined not to relinquish my steed, but to hold on by the bridle. My men, who of course kept at a safe distance, stood aghast with their mouths open, and for a few seconds my position was certainly not an enviable one. Fortunately, however, the dogs took off the attention of the elephants; and
just as they were upon me, I managed to spring into the saddle, where I was safe. As I turned my back to mount, the elephants were so very near that I really expected to feel one of their trunks lay hold of me. I rode up to Kleinboy for my doublebarreled two-grooved rifle; he and Isaac were pale and almost speechless with fright. Returning to the charge, I was soon once more alongside, and, firing from the saddle, I sent another brace of bullets into the wounded elephant. Colesberg was extremely unsteady, and destroyed the correctness of my aim. : The friend now seemed resolved to do some mischief, and charged me furiously, pursuing me to a distance of several hundred yards. I therefore deemed it proper to give her a gentle hint to act less officiously, and, accordingly, having loaded, I approached within thirty yards, and gave it her sharp, right and left, behind the shoulder, upon which she at once made off with drooping trunk, evidently with a mortal wound. I never recur to this my first day's elephant shooting without regretting my folly in contenting myself with securing only one elephant. The first was now dying, and could not leave the ground, and the second was also mortally wounded, and I had only to follow and finish her; but I foolishly allowed her to escape, while I amused myself with the first, which kept walking backward, and standing by every tree she passed. Two more shots finished her: on receiving them, she tossed her trunk up and down two or three times, and, falling on her broadside against a thorny tree, which yielded like grass, before her enormous weight, she uttered a deep, hoarse cry and expired. This was a very handsome old cow elephant, and was decidedly the best in the troop. She was in excellent condition, and carried a pair of long and perfect tusks.
I was in high spirits at my success, and felt so perfectly satisfied with having killed one, that, although it was still early in the day, and my horses were fresh, I allowed the troop of five bulls to remain unmolested, foolishly trusting to fall in with them next day. How little did I then know of the habits of elephants, or the rules to be adopted in hunting them, or deem it probable I should never see them more!
Having knee-haltered our horses, we set to work with our knives and assagais to prepare the skull for the hatchet, in order to cut out the tusks, nearly half the length of which, I may mention, is imbedded in bone sockets in the fore part of the skull. To cut out the tusks of a cow elephant requires barely one-fifth of the labor requisite to cut out those of a bull; and when the sun went down, we had managed by our combined efforts to cut out one of the tusks of my first elephant, with which we triumphantly returned to camp, having left the guides in charge of the carcass, where they volunteered to take up their quarters for the night. On reaching my wagons I found Johannus and Carollus in a happy state of indifference to all passing events: they were both very drunk, having broken into my wine-cask and spirit-case.
On the 28th I arose at an early hour, and, burning with anxiety to look forth once more from the summit of the hillock which the day before brought me such luck, I made a hasty breakfast, and rode
thither with after-riders and my dogs. But, alas! I had allowed the golden opportunity to slip. This day I sought in vain; and although I often again ascended to the summit of my favorite hillock in that and in the succeeding year, my eyes were destined never again to hail from it a troop of elephants.