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The only extracts we can find room for are those relating to hunting the ostrich and giraffe---a sport at least a novelty to English readers :
...... I had shot a hartebeest for the savages, when an object, which had repeatedly attracted my eye, but which I had as often persuaded myself was nothing more than the branchless stump of some withered tree, suddenly shifted its position, and the next moment I distinctly perceived that singular form of which the apparition had oftimes visited my slumbers, but upon whose reality I now gazed for the first time. It passed rapidly among the trees, above the topmost branches of many of which its graceful head nodded like some lofty pine-it was the stately, the long-sought giraffe. Putting spurs to my horse, and desiring the Hottentots to follow, I presently found myself half choked with excitement, rattling at the heels of the tallest of all the mammiferes, whom thus to meet free on his native plains has fallen to the lot of few of the votaries of the chase. Sailing before me with incredible velocity, his long swan-like neck keeping time to the eccentric motion of his stilt-like legs, his ample black tail curled above his back, and whisking in ludicrous concert with the rocking of his disproportionate frame, he glided gallantly along “like some tall ship upon the ocean's bosom," and seemed to leave whole leagues behind him at each stride. The ground was of the most treacherous description--a rotten black soil overgrown with long coarse grass, which concealed from view innumerable cracks and fissures that momentarily threatened to throw down my horse. For the first five minutes I rather lost than gained ground, and despairing, over such a country, of ever diminishing the distance, or improving my acquaintance with this ogre in seven-league boots, I dismounted, and had the satisfaction of hearing two balls tell loudly on his plank-like stern. But I might as well have fired at a wall : he neither swerved from his course, nor slackened bis pace, and had pushed on so far a-head during the time I was reloading, that, after remounting, I had some difficulty in even keeping sight of him among the trees. Closing, however, I repeated the dose on the other quarter, and spurred along my horse, ever and anon sinking to his fetlock ; the giraffe now flagging at each stride, until, as I was coming up hand over hand, and success seemed certain, down I came headlong-my horse having fallen into a pit, and lodged me close to an ostrich's nest, in which the old birds were sitting....... The giraffe having recovered his wind, and being only slightly wounded in the hind-quarters, shuffled his long legs, twisted his tail over his back, walked a few paces, then broke into a gallop, and, diving, into the mazes of the forest, disappeared from my sight........ Several hours' diligent search the next day brought us upon a herd of twelve cameleopards. We pursued them a considerable distance, and repeatedly wounded the largest, a gigantic male, probably 18 fect in height: but our famished horses falling repeatedly into the numerous holes with which the ground was covered, we at length became convinced of the impossibility of humbling the lofty head of the giraffe, until our steeds should have improved in condition upon the fine pasturage which now abounded.
Some days afterwards, our Sportsman was more fortunate, which he thus enthusiastically describes :
To the Sportsman the most thrilling passage in my adventures is now to be recounted. In my own breast, it awakens a renewal of past impressions, more lively than any written description can render intelligible ; and far abler pens than mine, dipped in more glowing tints, would still fall short of the reality, and leave much to be supplied by the imagination. Three hundred gigantic elephants, browsing in majestic tranquillity amidst the wild magnificence of an African landscape and a wide-stretching plain, darkened,
as far as the eye can reach with a moving phalanx of gnoos and quaggas, whose numbers literally baffle computation, are sights but rarely to be witnessed : but who among our brother Nimrods shall hear of riding familiarly by the side of a troop of colossal giraffes, and not feel his spirit stirred within him! He that would behold so marvellous a sight must leave the haunts of man, and dive, as we did, into pathless wilds, traversed only by the brute creation--into wide wastes, where the grim lion prowls, monarch of all he surveys, and where the gaunt hyæna and wild dog fearlessly pursue
Many days had now elapsed since we had even seen the cameleopard, and then only in small numbers, and under the most unfavorable circumstances. The blood coursed through my veins like quicksilver, therefore, as on the morning of the 19th, from the back of Breslar, my most trusty steed, with a firm wooded plain before me, I counted thirty-two of these animals, industriously stretching their peacock necks to crop the tiny leaves which futtered above their heads, in a mimosa grove that beautified the scenery, They were within a hundred yards of me, but having previously determined to try the boarding system, I reserved my fire. Although I had taken the field expressly to look for giraffes, and had put four of the Hottentots on horseback, all excepting Piet had, as usual, slipped off in pursuit of a troop of koodoos. Our stealthy approach was soon opposed by an ill-tempered rhinoceros, which, with her ugly calf, stood directly in our path ; and the twinkling of her bright little eyes, accompanied by a restless rolling of the body, giving earnest of her intention to charge, I directed Piet to salute her with a broadside, at the same moment putting spurs to my horse. At the report of the gun, and the sudden clattering of hoofs, away bounded the giraffes in grotesque confusion, clearing the ground by a succession of froglike hops, and soon leaving me far in the rear. Twice were their towering forms concealed from view by a park of trees, which we entered almost at the same instant; and twice, on emerging from the labyrinth, did I perceive them tilting over an eminence immeasurably in advance. A white turban, that I wore round my hunting cap, being dragged off by a projecting bough, was instantly charged by three rhinoceroses, and, looking over my shoulder, I could see them long afterwards fagging themselves to overtake me. In the course of five minutes, the fugitives arrived at a small river, the treacherous sands of which receiving their long legs, their flight was greatly retarded ; and after foundering to the opposite side, and scrambling to the top of the bank, I perceived that their race was run. Patting the streaming neck of my good steed, I urged him again to his utmost, and instantly found myself by the side of the herd. The stately bull, being readily distinguished from the rest by his dark chesnut robe and superior stature; I applied the muzzle of my rifle behind his dappled shoulder, with the right hand, and drew both triggers ; but he still continued to shuffle along, and being afraid of losing him should I dismount among the extensive mimosa groves with which the landscape was now obscured, I sat in my saddle, loading and firing behind the elbow, and then placing myself across his path, until
, the tears trickling from his full brilliant eye, his lofty frame began to totter, and at the seventeenth discharge from the deadly-grooved bore, bowing his graceful head from the skies, his proud form was prostrate in the dust. Never shall I forget the tingling excitement of that moment ! Alone, in a wild wood, I hurra’d with bursting exultation, and, unsaddling my steed, sank exhausted beside the noble prize I had won. When I leisurely contemplated the massive frame before me, seeming as though it had been cast in a mould of brass, and protected by a hide of an inch and a half in thickness, it was no longer matter of astonishment that a bullet discharged from a distance of eighty or ninety yards should have been attended with little effect
upon such amazing strength. The extreme height from the crown of
the elegantly moulded head to the hoof of this magnificent animal was eighteen feet, the whole being equally divided into neck, body, and leg.
With the ostrich, a bird famous from the most remote antiquity, and which was usually common during our journey, I conclude my notice of objects that especially interest the Sportsman. Miserably mounted as we were, any attempt to overtake this most gigantic of the feathered race would have been vain, but a shot could always be obtained at arm's length by gallopping to a point in the course it had selected, and from which it rarely swerved. The food of the ostrich is exclusively of a vegetable nature : it pastures in large troops, and evidently constitutes the link between the birds and the mammalia. The male bird often measures nine feet at the crown of the head, and exceeds three hundred pounds in weight, the thigh being equal in size to a leg of mutton. Excepting the costly white plumes so prized by the fair sex, and which are chiefly obtained from the wing, instead of from the tail as generally imagined, the color of the body is the deepest black in the male bird, and in the female a dingy brown. While running, the wings are raised above the back, and the clatter of the feet, which are only provided with two toes, resembles that made by a horse in trotting, pebbles of considerable size being cast behind them. I'he usual cry of the ostrich is a short roar, but when brought to bay it hisses like a gander. The Bechuana, with what truth I know not, are said occasionally to domesticate this stately bird for equestrian purposes ; and the puny Bushman avails himself of the disguise afforded by its skin to mix with a troop of wild animals, and select his victim. At the twang of his tiny bow, away scours the herd in dire consternation, and, more alarmed than all, off scuds the impostor with them, again propelling a shaft as soon as the panic has subsided. The destruction committed in this manner is incredible, a slender reed, only slightly barbed with bone or iron, but imbued with a subtile poison, and launched with unerring dexterity, being sufficient to destroy the most powerful animal.
This is a little of the Munchausen School; but these on dits are quite admissible in a “ Traveller's Narrative,” particularly when the author doesn't vouch for its correctness !
Captain Harris calculates the slain at several hundreds, and among them the oryx, or gemsbok, which splendid antelope he describes as the animal that in all probability gave birth to the figure of the fabulous unicorn. “When seen en profile,” he says, “ the long straight horns so exactly cover each other that the existence of two might almost be doubted; and whilst rude delineations in this posture have been discovered in many of the Bushmen caves, the algazel, a corresponding species in North Africa, is to be found similarly represented on the sculptured monuments of ancient Egypt and Nubia. The onyx is a powerful and dangerous antagonist, charging viciously, and defending itself, when hard pressed, with wonderful intrepidity and address. Its skeleton has not unfrequently been found locked in that of a lion--the latter having been transfixed by its formidable horns in a conflict which has proved fatal to both the combatants !" The quantity of game thus immolated is not, however, extraordinary, when herds of antelopes, quaggas, gnoos, &c. were seen by our author congregated in one plain to the number of 15,000 !
The collection made by Captain Harris “consisted of two perfect crania of every species of game quadruped to be found in Southern Africa-together with skins of the lion, quagga, zebra, ostrich, &c.,
tails of the cameleopard, and tusks of elephants and hippopotami, besides elaborate drawings of every animal that interests the Sportsman, from the tall giraffe to the minutest antelope."
Captain Harris has seen much, and describes what he has seen like a man of observation and a Gentleman; and though his “ Narrative" in some instances is a leetle too highly colored, it will be read with interest by all who delight in daring adventure and the excitement of those Wild Sports detailed in the volume before us.
If a horse have any tricks or defects discoverable in the stable, you may be quite sure that, if you proceed to observe him there immediately after lie is led into his stall, the dealer or his satellites will not allow him to rest a moment, but will keep him constantly on the fret, either by cracking a whip, speaking sharply, or by going up to him every now and then under the pretence of altering his clothes, tightening his head-stall or roller, or by some similar manæuvre.
Your best plan, therefore, is to appear not to wish to pay any regard to the horse you
have an idea of purchasing, but look at another, and order him to be led out. While this second horse is undergoing the different operations of having his mane and tail combed out, his posteriors titillated by the enlivening administration of a small piece of ginger, and his head decorated with a well pipe-clayed bridle, keep your eye upon the first horse, and try if you can detect any of the following defects or bad symptoms about him.
I have already said that the horse that vents frequently is sure to have bad digestion and weak bowels. It is in the stable that you
will have the best opportunity of noticing this peculiarity. Here also you will have perhaps the only chance of discovering a crib-biter, which may be done, first, by examining the manger in order to detect the marks of the teeth; and, secondly, by remarking if the horse attempt to lay hold of it: I say attempt, because his master, by a slight wave of the whip, will most assuredly not allow him to crib outright in the presence of a customer. Marks of the teeth upon the rack or manger are not infallible signs of a crib-biter, because many a horse will lay hold of them while being cleaned, and moreover they may have been made by some other horse : still they are not to be overlooked.
Another trick, and a most wearying one, is also indulged in in the stall: it is called weaving, and consists in a constant rocking of the body from side to side, alternately resting first on one fore-leg, then on the other, without moving the hind-quarters. This habit frequently originates in tender feet, which at some period or other have been in a state of inflammation, causing the animal to shift from one leg to the other without intermission for the purpose of obtaining a short respite from pain. I have already remarked that some horses with
very good action will now and then, in a most unaccountable manner, drop as if they were shot, although no defect is to be observed either in the legs or feet : I have known two horses do this, and they were both weavers : consequently I consider it as a suspicious symptom of something being wrong, though this is by no means always the case. Nevertheless, as a horse with this fault is constantly working his forelegs, instead of allowing them to rest, it is one which must render him less lively and less capable of exertion than he otherwise would be.
In the manger, unless it have been recently cleaned out, you may find proofs of the quidder, by observing small balls of half-masticated hay, which tenderness of the mouth or throat has prevented the animal from swallowing
Should a horse be tender on one leg or foot, and not shew the defect after having been whipped or spurred, he will almost invariably extend the sore limb on being allowed to res for a short time in his stall. Corns may not unfrequently be detected from this circumstance, although they may not occasion lameness during exercise; but whatever may be the cause which leads a horse to rest his leg, by extending it and bearing only on the toe, you may be quite sure that it is one which is scarcely likely to improve by work, and the probability is that he is a screw nursed for sale.
The dung may generally be inspected in the stall, and may be found to contain bots, or horse-worms: if slimy and fetid, it will denote internal derangement of some kind or other; if loose, sloppy, and offensive, will be evidence of a soft and washy horse ; and if full of unmasticated oats, will shew a greedy and voracious animal, or possibly some defect in the grinders or tenderness of the lining membrane of the mouth. The habit of bolting corn before it be properly chewed may be prevented, or the complaint about the mouth may probably admit of remedy ; but the washy horse will seldom, if ever, repay the care and attention he will require.
Many horses are given to bite or kick in the stable, and some indeed will previously pin you against the side of the stall. All decidedly vicious horses are to be carefully shunned; for though when mounted they may be everything their rider may desire, and may learn to know their master, nothing can compensate for the injuries a stranger may every now and then sustain from these brutes. One warning of vice may be taken from the hare-eye, which is laterally prominent, and with which a horse is constantly looking behind him for the purpose of saluting any one who approaches him with his heels. Another may be gleaned, from observing that a horse's hocks are scarred and perhaps capped ; and a third, from the mark of a strap buckled above the hock for the purpose of preventing a kicker from indulging in that pleasing pastime.
Some horses, when their clothes are stripped off and the saddle is brought near them, will begin to dung, and will repeatedly do so while the girths are being drawn and other preparations made for riding them. When you see thi:, you may almost take it for granted that you have lighted upon a hot, fiery, fretful brute, very spicey for a short time, but capable of perforining but little work, and that at long intervals.