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deal of whining or puling near the spot, which I took to be her dying cries. Advancing cautiously, a different rhinoceros cocked its ears at me, and I felt for an instant at a loss which to fire at: both barrels from “ Blanshard” went at my new young friend, who rushed off crashing through the underwood, and I only then saw that the poor old lady was cold dead, and she proved so heavy that three of us could not move her. It was the young one weeping over its mother that caused the plaintive cries I had heard.
Zebras seen cantering in open forests of bare-poled trees without a vestige of underwood, form a beautiful sight; they can be stalked very easily, and, unless made aware of danger by antelopes feeding with them, they will turn round and stare at you, some even advancing a few paces, like the wild horse of Thibet. When I first heard the cry of the zebra I took it for the call of a bird, with a little of the donkey at the end; but, listening for some time, and seeing the animal, I would describe it as a half-bray, or cross between a foals and a donkey's call. They are perfect in symmetry, and barred jet black to the very hoofs, which are large, wide, and well cared-for by nature's farrier, the grass in the forest. Two of our Tots would not eat them because they had never eaten horse-flesh; but every one else was glad to get “fiveyear-olds,” or even “aged” ones, though of all wild animals I considered it the worst food, tasting so very strong. After the tongue or any portion of the meat had been boiled, it smelt of a stable, and caused instant disgust and nausea. Cut in long stripes, sundried, and toasted in ashes, was the only way of making the zebra flesh lose this flavour. Had we had any
salt, probably pickling it might also have answered. The paunches were in several cases lined with clusters of maggots, a disease known amongst sheep in this country
Buffaloes gave Speke some dashing home-charges ; but though I sought them everywhere, I never had a shot. Their meat was as fine as that which any English butcher can produce—the men eating of it day and night as long as it lasted.
Brindled gnu is equally good, but far more beautiful in the field. Fearfully shy, they look at you for an instant only, then scamper off, lashing about their switching long tails; and after giving a short spurt, they turn round again, take another furtive glance, and then bound madly away.
Giraffe are such wary animals, their heads peering over the tops of the acacias on which they feed, that only one specimen, a bull, was shot. This was done with a Lancaster ball through the heart, and I thought the latter small in proportion to the size of the animal. On asking for the head to be brought for preservation, I found that the Wezee porters had cut the ears off, and were already frizzling them for dinner. The hairs of the tail are so stiff, thick, long, and such a handsome black, that the natives value them very much for stringing bead-necklaces. It being a thorny acacia country, our men benefited by the giraffe's thick skin, which they converted into excellent sandals. For days afterwards, as they passed to windward, the odour of a menagerie was unmistakable.
Lions were fired at once during a moonlight march; others were heard both day and night making short coughing noises, but never “roaring like a lion.” They
kill cattle, and, if trapped, are carried lashed in a litter as royal property to the sultan. Tracks of the elephant were numerous in Ugogo. Here we saw some hunters, Mukua, from the Lufigi, with long “ Tower" flint-muskets, looking as perfect as when new. With these they watch the elephant at night by solitary pools of water, and fire a volley into him ; but they consider that the best place to strike him is just in front of the ear orifice. Eland, hartebeest, black antelope, &c., and several smaller species, were shot or observed in our constant pursuit for specimens. There is a charm about the bark and spring of the startled saltatrix, a chamois-sized antelope, or when seen standing proudly on the face of the shelving rock, that reminded us of the goorul or chamois of the Himalayas. Their fore-feet hoofs are immensely long in the heel, enabling them to cling to the rocks. The hirax, or coney, basking on the rocks, is also very interesting: he is about three times the size of the hare. We saw very few of the latter; they were the same colour as the English, but smaller, with ears disproportionately large; they seemed to run more like rabbits than hares. Lungoor and monkey we seldom met with; the latter are hunted for their skins by the common pariah dog in Uzaramo, but the natives do not eat them. Squirrels occasionally cracked nuts on the forest-trees: they were of the usual size and beauty, most difficult to “twig,” and having a white longitudinal stripe running down either side. There were weasels, brown ferrets, small foxes with black muzzles, and red foxes, jackal-sized, white-chested, with the perfect bark of a dog, and extremely graceful, with elegant dark brush. Mangy-coloured, impudent hy
enas prowled and howled round the camp, much to every one's amusement; they are such wary, cunning beasts that only one was shot, and our men had no delicacy in carrying it into camp for examination and dissection. In India private servants would refuse to touch such a piece of carrion.
The ugliest monster is the wild boar-head narrow and long, with four warty protuberances, and the skin between the two tusks as broad as it is between the eyes. The mane is immense, but behind it there is little or no hair ; however, nothing looks prettier or more like a race of Arab horses than a herd in full flight going across the forest with erect heads and straight-up tails. We saw a crocodile, the colour of a tiger, lying on the bank of the Kingani, where the spoor of hippopotamus was visible.
We came across very few chameleons or serpents, but saw a puff adder 21 feet long, with abruptly short tail and four fangs. There were many species of lizards; one twelve inches long, very handsome, with vermilion head and shoulders, and bright-blue body. Shooting two of these amongst some rocks cost us twelve cloths, as I was told that I had encroached on sacred ground. Rats, bugs, and musquitoes seldom gave us trouble. During rain, frogs and crickets were deafening. Insects and white ants (eaten by natives) seemed to enjoy themselves by attacking us and the candle at night; and small yellow butterflies, apple-green underneath, fluttered in suspense over the edges of little puddles.
Of birds of song there were remarkably few : a species of lark on the coast had a short sweet note. Of game-birds, the ordinary guinea-fowl, weighing 31 to 3} lb., was the most common, and ate deli
ciously after being kept two days. Early in the morning they roost lazily in tall trees, and in the evening they may be found near cultivations, chasing insects or grubbing up sweet potato. We killed one rare species, red round the eyes and on the throat, having a standing-up purple collar of loose skin, a ridge of ostrich-like black feathers from the back of the head to the nostrils, weight about 3 lb., and in running it seemed to have a more compressed body than the ordinary species. There is something peculiar about the shape of the “merry-thought,” which differs from that of a fowl. The best-flavoured bird we found was the florikan, which has a rough gritty call; but few were shot, as they were extremely shy. Green pigeons are handsome, and after they have fed on the wild fig, no bird looks plumper on the table. Rock-pigeon, snipe, quail, plover, and several species of partridge, we shot occasionally; also a very pretty species of pintailed dove found in Ugogo. Pigeons, generally white, and not differing from those at home, are sometimes kept as pets by the villagers. Of ostrich we saw only one gang on the bare plains of Ugogo, where the natives make handsome wreaths of their plumes; and among the other birds seen were crested cranes, hawks, a solitary raven or two, a few parrots, but scarcely any crows. The natives capture all these beasts and birds by means of pitfalls and nooses.
The former are cut like a wedge, most disagreeable to look down upon, eight feet deep, and but one foot across the top, which is coyly covered over.
The nooses were formed of an elastic bough, stripped of its branches, with the noose hung perpendicularly, neatly concealed and placed in an antelope-frequented track. Diminutive traps were