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PiTTL RATCLTFFF.'S ADVENTURES, A STORY OF WILD LIFE. CHAPTER II OtTB three Oregon friends were the first to congratu- late us upon our safety. They had seen the Indians at a. distance, had heard their war-whoop, and had -put U8 down for lost. Had we once got in the hands of this tribe they would have murdered us by slow de- grees, and have carried our scalps as trophies of their victory. We were altogether a party of twelve, and as jolly a 'ot as perhaps ever met together. Six went to the !ight of the camp we had erected, and four to the left, pursuit of game, whilst two remained in the tent to keep the fires in, protect our stores, and prepare food j for us on our return, for we had determined to wait j uPon ourselves, and had therefore taken no bothering servants with us. In taking the journey, I mentioned, in the last j ^apter, Paul Ratcliffe and myself, with the three Oregon friends, and a young man named Burcfiell, composed the six who proceeded to the right of the f?nt. As the reader knows, we had nearly lost our ^es through our imprudence, in not taking advice i from those friends who knew the prairies better than j did. The party of four who took the ground to the j •8ft of the tent were more fortunate than we were. They proceeded cautiously, and had brought down a fine Buffalo before they had been out half-a-dozen hours, 4"d in a very short time they had his skin off, with ^hioh they had returned to the tent, bringing ^so with them some of the choicest parts of the flesh, which our friends in camp "immediately com- menced cooking. It was a cold dreary day, and ',g evening came on the rain poured down in tor- retilts, so that before our party reached the rendez- vous we were literally wet to the skin. The bright fire inside, and the savoury smell of cooking as we en- tared the tent, were things that only persons in our Position can thoroughly appreciate. To make a long story short, after a slight attendance to our horses we soon replenished the inner man, and over our grog and Pipes each party gave a history of the day's exploits, 11ntllweary sleep closed our eyes for the night. The next morning we found it still raining in tor- tOlIts. Our tent was, however, thoroughly waterproof 818 Well as the enclosure that covered our horses, and *8 we had plenty of food for ourselves and provender f°r our steeds, we did not consider that a day's rest Would do us any harm. How should we kill time, how- ler, wag suggested, when to our infinite delight Paul Ratcliffe said he would endeavour to amuse us with his 11 ^ploits in foreign countries. "And first," he said, I ^Ul give you something about ADVENTURES IN THE BUSH. I Two years ago I was travelling with rather a large l^rty in Denmark and Sweden, and from thence to ^olland, where I came upon a tract of country called ^eland. Amongst others I had with me a Hottentot j Nvant named Jot. I remarked to him one day that did not seem t o be like others of his countrymen, had not such savage-looking cheekbones—he had a jitter nose—he had smaller lips—his forehead was higher—and his speech was softer. He told me that supposed there was a reason for all these peculiari- and upon my promising that I would not reveal secret to his companions, he entrusted me with it. mother was the child of a French, officer by a fjottentot woman who had lived in Grahamstown; so "tat he had a fair snrinkling of French blood in. his veing. .But," he added, with a perfect French twist of body and shrug of the shoulders, I don t think ^7 father ever knew that his wife had European ?lood in her veins. He knew she was different ^om other Hottentot women; but he thought it "1,8 because she had lived so long with the Boers." I asked Jot if he supposed his father would have ?ared for the circumstance of Ms wife's birth, if he known it. Bah was the quick reply. Tour Hottentot ^0 lives with the Boers has a disgust of getting jflite blood into his veins. And the more brutish you him, the stronger will you find this antipathy." ''But." said I, "I have found a number of eases here I thought the Caucasian and Hottentot blood a(^ been mixed." Certainly," replied Jot. It is so, very often but* ?* ko.l £ AUOONU -von + nvo VTO.V ITH+.O +•>> WFTFI.fi'N, °t country. He would surely be killed if he was L^ght by those who recognised the dilution of his °°d. I don't think you will find a case in the colony ^oere a child has been born of a Hottentot father and mother; but the cases are quite numerous where ^9 parentage has been reversed." Jot's language I cannot possibly-give. His words j*6re mostly English when conversing with me; but his rjiom was half Dutch, while the other half seemed up of English, French, and Hottentot. It was to hear him when he was zealous and tried talk fast. We had been for several days traversing the edge cf a broad desert, and had found plenty of game. One J'fternoon, while descending a hill, I discovered a soli- ary eland standing by a clump of thorn-bashes. He the largest of the antelope tribe I had ever seen— arger than any ox—and was well laden with fat. v. "Hi!" cried Jot, who was walking by the side of oxen, "if you get that fellow, you will find some of sweetest meat you ever eat." The eland, when he £ a«v us, pricked up his sharp an(j started off at a swift trot. I unsliing my and urged my horse to a gallop. Two friends I with me joined in the chase, but their horses b ollldnot quite hep pace with mine. Presently the eland J-oke into a run, and threatened to distance us but I ^8 sure of him if he did not give me the slip by gifting some impenetrable cover, for his slender legs I ere not lasting: enough to hold out against the animal f r°de. Over fallen trees and through thick bashes old bull made his way, and finally he disappeared eYond a wooded ridge. I soon came in sight of him tjtoin, however, as he dashed down a gentle declivity. i~e Was at the bottom and I was at the top. Would a6 keep on up the slope beyond or would he turn and. through the vale ? If he did the latter I could cut off. He started up the rise, and I could see very Plainly that his legs were failing him. 'Now, old fellow!" I cried. my horse, as I 'Shtened the rein with 311 y left hand, while I balanced rifle in the right, up and at him 1 My noble beast seemed to understand my words, for straightened his neck, and dashed down into the \>ltle, and up the slope beyond. Nearer and nearer we 0attte, and when within fifty yards, I dropped the rein, ^d raised the rifle to my shoulder. In a few moments Were by tho eland's side, and I sont a ball through tibs. My horse carved about of his own accord J*t there was no need of another shot, for the game down. I dismounted and hurried up, and was reprised to find how hard the poor eland had laboured. f Is Heck and shoulders were covered with sweat and i°atn. kig tongue hung out from his mouth and great ear8 were eoursing down from his full, soft eyes. The ?xPression upon his mild, ovine face was peculiarly •Poking, and as his dying gaze rested upon me, I "^oied that there was something almost human in the Prayerful look. But his hours were numbered, and as he breathed his last my two friends rode up. ..The eland I had slain was one of the largest h his kind. The length of his body, from his ?°.ae to the base of his tail, was eleven feet; his f6lsht was six feet; and he could not have weighed than ten or eleven hundred pounds. His colour, all that I have seen of that variety, was a greyish „"°w upon the back and sides, fading to a dusky colour upon the belly, while the more promi. parts, like the mane and the tail, and the face, <j,^d a brownish hue. His horns were three feet long. I*19? inclined gently back from the head; were very o^Se at the base, with two spiral turns, or twists, a ^rd of the way up, and thence tapering off slender sharp. I think I never tasted sweeter meat._ It j,3,8 equal to the best stall-fed beef; and my friend j.Gilroy declared, upon his honour, tha,t he would 9^er be cross if he could always have such feed. 1 That night we encamped in a pleasant valley, close i", a spring of very good water. While supper was prepared, old Bolus came in from a reconnois- v1100' an<3 beckoned for me to follow him. When we i,ere out of hearing of the others, he informed me J^t he had found some tracks in the sand not far off, uich did not please him. Ha said they were the u of Bushmen. 7,asked him how he knew. There's nothing else on two legs that can make jjph a track he answered. It is mads by a small, ''•shaped foot, all skin and bones. Oh, I know just as tK as though I had seen the fellows themselves. A.nd 5: tracks are fresh, too." Mf ^st thfen Jot joined us. He had been to the spring water, and had al-o discovered the tracks, 'u, Hi, master," he cri-sd, in his clear snapping tones, 6re strange traoks not far away." "What are they ? I asked him, desiring to see how his judgment would square with the old guide's. They are marks of the Bushmen," he replied. How do you know ? Why—I've seen them." What -the Bushmen?" No, the tracks. Goodness gracious d'ye suppose I could mistake the track of' a Bushman for anything else It's made by afoot like a bunch of sticks. Ah, my master, I am not mistaken." "Very well," said I. "We admit that they are Bushmen. What next ? That depends upon how many there are of them, answered Bolus. If they are strong enough, they'll That depends upon how many there are of them, answered Bolus. If they are strong enough, they'll try to rob ns." I think you never met a pack of these rascals, said Jot. I told him I never had. "Then let me tell you just what you've got to find if you ever do meet them. You've met a pack of wolves?" "Yes." Then you've got an idea of the Bushman. He'sa human wolf. He's a creeping coward, and a blood- thirsty-thief; and if there's a pack of them near us, we must be on our guard." "Jot is right," added Bolus. "These Bushmen know no more love than do the beasts we slay; and if they get their eyes upon our wagons, they'll take our property if they can get it." And yet I noticed that neither of my men seemed to be alarmed. I asked them if they did not consider that there was danger. Certainly," said Jot; but not so much as there might have been if we had not discovered these tracks. The Bushmen are cowards, and are afraid of the white man's rifle." We went back to the camp, and told the others what we had discovered. The Mozambiques that were with us seemed a little timid, but tried not to show it. My two English friends, Harry and Andrew, were sorry if we had got to come to mortal conflict with human beings, but they were ready for it." Human cried old Ben, pounding his huge fat fiats together. D'ye call them ericturs human ? By the big horn spoon! I saw one of 'em at Port Elizabeth, and I should call it a cross between a baboon and a black bear. Don't talk that kind of stuff to me." Good! cried Jot, clapping his hands. "Master Ben knows. The more we kill of such kind of animals the better." After supper we all went down to the place where the tracks had been found; and it was decided that a party of Bushmen had been that way. There were tracks in the sand, and tracks upon the grass; but how many we could not determine. It might be that they had pushed off, and that we should have no trouble from them. There was a moon that night, riding midway in the heavens at sunset. At ten o'clock I turned in, leaving Harry Rusk, with Sunam and Tambet, the Mozam- biques, on the watch. An hour afterwards I was aroused by a peculiar sound above my head and as soon as I had chance for thought, I concluded that an arrow had sped through the canvas covering of the wagon. I leaped to my feet just as Sunam came to call me, and when I reached the ground I found Jot and old Bolus already armed. In a few moments more Andrew was with us, and while Harry was tell. ing me what had transpired, I sent my boy Dan to rouse up Ben Gilroy, who was encamped in the distance. The rascals are in that clump of bushes, said Ha.rry, pointing to a dark line of shrubbery some fifty or sixty yards away. They have made no noise yet, but I am sure I saw one or two of them moving. They have fired two arrows, and I think one of our oxen is struck." "Yes," said I; and one of the arrows came through the too of my wagon." They only meant to try if we were awake," sug- gested Jot. We had thus far held our confab beneath the shade of the wagons, and I doubted if the enemy had dis- covered that we were aroused. Only Harry, Jot, and myself, had been out into the moonlight; and even we had made nodemonstration of alarm. After some further conference it was decided that we would remain just as we were until something more transpired, Biith Jotand Bolus were confident that the Bushmen were in the adjacent thicket, and that they were watching for an opportunitv to pounce upon us. "Ha!" Another arrow came tearing through the cover of our wagon. They'll come upon us pretty soon," said Jot. If we don't move they'll think we're all asleep." If they were coming, we were ready for them. I had a pair of heavy pistols, a double-barrelled rifle, and a single-barrelled rifle, and a shot-gun; and the others of our party had arms enough. Old Ben had joined us, Dan having led him carefully out in the shadow, pnd he had his two rifles, and a heavy double-barrelled ducking-gun, which he had charged with buck-shot. It. will be understood that these precautionary arrange- ments touching our fire-arms had been made before dark. A note of warning from Bolus brought us upon our knees; and by looking under the wagons we could see tha line of bushes. Half-a-dozen dark objects were moving out from the cover, and very soon the number was increased to a score—ay, to more than that. As they came out into the moonlight I could see them plainly-I counted thirty of them — creeping along slowly and stealthily, 'with gleaming weapons in their hands. Until this moment I had had some slight feeling of hesitation about firing on the strangers; but I enter- tained such feelings no longer. I saw too plainly their murderous intent. I could see their knives, and I could see that they were clutched ready for use. Shall we shoot them from behind this cover? asked Andrew. Certainly," replied Bolus. We don't want any of their poisoned arrows flying at us." All were looking to mo 9-- tliu word, and I did not withhold H QUe moment after I thought it was time to give it. We were upon our knees, and could easily take aim beneath the wagons. At the word of com- mand eleven throats of iron sent forth their burdens of fire and lead, and in another instant half-a-dozen more shots followed; for some fired their second bar- rels immediately. A yell, like the howl of frightened wolves, answered to the cracking of our rifles, and when the smoke had cleared away not a live Bushman was to be seen. Jot and Bolus had started out, and fired two more shots at the retreating foe; and if their desire could have been gratified we would have given chase. But I thought differently. I did not appre- hend that the rascals would attack us again, and I had no desire for mere vengeance. We kept a watch through the rest of the night, but we had no more trouble. In the morning we found nine dead Bushmen upon the ground, and from the tracts of blood through the tehrubbery we knew that several more had been wounded. Of all the specimens of humanity that I ever saw, the Bosjesmans, or Bushmen, are the lowest. They are smaller of frame than the Hottentots, and more spare. They speak a coarse, grunting language, which no other tribe can understand; and their life of constant warfare and pillage gives them a low, crafty, cunning look, which, added to their filthy habits, renders them more repulsive tha,n any animal of the brute creation. They have no fixed habitation, but roam about in families, seeking no shelter but such as is afforded by the trees and bushes, and sub- sisting upon plunder. If they find no plunder they eat raw flesh; and, if that fails them, they eat snakes, and mice, and vermin. Their garments are just such as they can procure. They will go naked rather than labour for clothing; but such articles of apparel as they can steal they will wear. Their arms are knives, clubs, and bows and arrows- these latter weapons being generally poisoned. While Gash and Bolus were preparing breakfast, the other servants dug a hole in the sand and buried the carcasses of the dead Bushmen; and before we got ready to start we found that we had a dead horse on our bands. A poisoned arrow had struck the poor animal in the shoulder, and he died in agony. During the day we kept a. sharp look-out, riding as far as possible from dense thickets, but we saw nothing more of the Bushmen. They had evidently had taste enough of our quality, and concluded not to tempt our rifles again. (To oe continued.) ■» C

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