Welsh Newspapers

Search 15 million Welsh newspaper articles

Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page



I." PAUL RATCLIFFE'S ADVENTURES. A STORY OF WILD LIFE. CHAPTER II OUR 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 us down for lost. Had we once got in the hands of this tribe they would have murdered us by grees, and have carried our scalps as trophies of their victory. „ victory. We were altogether a party of twelve, arid as jolly a lot aa perhaps ever met together. Six went to the right of the camp we had erected, and four to the left, in pursuit of game, whilst two remained in the tent to I keep the fires in, protect our stores, and prepare food for us on our return, for we had determined to wait upon ourselves, and had therefore taken no bothering servants with us. t In taking the journey, I mentioned, in the last chapter, Paul Ratcliffe and myself, with the three Oregon friends, and a young man named Burchell, composed the six who proceeded to the right of the tent. As the reader knows, we had nearly lost our lives through our imprudence, in not taking advice from those friends who knew the prairies better than we did. The party of four who took the ground to the left of the tent were more fortunate than we were. They had proceeded cautiously, and had brought down a fine buffalo before they had been out half-a-dozen hours, and in a very short time they had his skin off, with which they had returned to the tent, bringing also 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 as evenins came on the rain poured down in tor- rents, 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- tered 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, until weary sleep closed our eyes for the night. The next morning we found it still raining in tor- rents. Our tent was, however, thoroughly waterproof as well as the enclosure that covered our horses, and as we had plenty of food for ourselves and provender for our steeds, we did not consider that a day's rest would do us any harm. How should we kill time, how- ever, was suggested, when to our infinite delight Paul Ratcliffe said he would endeavour to amuse us with his exploits in foreign countries. And first," he said, I will give you something about ADVENTURES IN THE BUSH. Two years ago I was travelling with rather a large party in Denmark and Sweden, and from thence to Holland, where I came upon a tract of country called Oeland. Amongst others I had with me a Hottentot servant named Job. I remarked to him one day that he did not seem to be like others of his countrymen. He had not such savage-looking cheekbones-he had a better nose-he had smaller lips-his forehead was higher—and his speech was softer. He told me that he supposed there was a reason for all theae^peculiari- ties, and upon my promising that I would not reveal his secret to his companions, he entrusted me with it. His mother was the child of a French officer by a Hottentot woman who had lived in Grahametown so that he had a fair sprinkling of French blood in his veins. "But," he added, with a perfect French twist of the body and shrug of the shoulders, I don't think my father ever knew that his wife had European blood in her veins. Ha knew she was different from other Hottentot women; but he thought it was because she had lived so long with the Boers." I asked Jot if he supposed his father would have cared for the circumstance of his wife's birth, if he j had known it.. „ TT "Bah. waa the quick reply. Your Hottentot who lives with the Boers has a. disgust of getting S white blood into his veins. And the more brutish you ? find him, the stronger will you find this antipathy." "But." said I, "I have found a number of cases where I thought the Caucasian and Hottentot blood had been mixed." Certainly," replied Jot. It is so, very often but your half-breed doean't venture back into the Hotten- tot country. Ho would Barely be killed if he was caught by those who recognised the dilution of his blood. I don't think you will find a case in the colony where a child has been born of a Hottentot father and white mother; but the cases are quite numerous where the parentage has been reversed." j Jot's language I cannot possibly give. His words were mostly English when conversing with me; but his idiom was half Dutch, while the other half seemed made up of English, French, and Hottentot. It was comical to hear him when he was zealous and tried to talk fast. We had been for several days traversing the edge of a broad desert, and had found plenty of game. One afternoon, while descending a hill, I discovered a soli- iary eland standing by a clump of thorn-bushes. He was the largest of the antelope tribe I had ever seen- l&rger than any ox-and was well laden with fat. "Hi! cried Jot, who was walking by the side of his oxen, if you get that fellow, you will find some of the sweetest meat you ever eat." The eland, when he saw us, pricked up his sharp ears, and started off at a swift trot. I unslung my rifle, and urged my horse to a gallop. Two friends I had with me joined in the chase, but their horses could not quite keep pace with mine. Presently the eland I broke into a run, and threatened to distance us but I was sure of him if he did not give me the slip by gaining some impenetrable cover, for his slender legs were not lasting enough to hold out against the animal I rode. Over fallen trees and through thick bushes the old bull made his way, and finally he disappeared beyond a wooded ridge. I soon came in sight of him again, however, as he dashed down a gentle declivity. He was at the bottom and I was at the top. would he keep on up the slope beyond or would he turn and flee through the vale ? If he did the latter I could cut [I him off- He started Tip the rise, and I could see very plainly that his lega were failing1 him. "Now, old xeiiowr!" j to my horse, as I tightened the rein with my left hand, while I balanced my rifle in the right, up and at him! My noble beast seemed to understand my words, for he straightened his neck, and dashed down into the vale, and up the slope beyond. Nearer and nearer we came, and when within fifty yards, I dropped the rein, and raised the rifle to my shoulder. In a fQW- moments We were by the eland's side, and I Bent a ball through his ribs. My horse curved about of hia own accord but there was no need of another shot, for the game Was down. I dismounted and hurried up, and was surprised to find how hard the poor eland had laboured. His neck and shoulders were covered with sweat and foam; his tongue hung out from hia mouth, and great tears were coursing down from his full, soft eyes. The Expression upon hia mild, ovine faoe was peculiarly touching, and as his dying gaze rested upon me, I fancied that there was something almost human in the | prayerful look. But his hours were numbered, and JUst as he breathed his last my two friends rode up. t The eland I had slain was one of the largest of his kind. The length of his body, from hia f°se to the base 0f his tail, was eleven feet; his Might waa six foet; and he could not have weighed than ten or eleven hundred pounds. His colour, like, all that I have seen of that variety, was a greyish bellow upon the back and sides, fading to a dusky cream. colour upon the belly, while the more promi- ?e«t parts, like the mane and the tail, and the face, a brownish hue. His horns were three feet long. J-hey inclined gently back from tke head; were very at the base, with two spiral turns, or twists, a lrd of the way up, and thence tapering off slender sharp. I think I never tasted sweeter meat. It equal to the best stall-fed beef; and my friend Gilroy declared, upon hia honour, that he would e^er be crosa if he could always have such feed. j. That night we encamped in a pleasant valley, close a spring of very good water. While supper waa s prepared, old Bolus came in from a reccnnois- ^^ce, and beckoned for me to follow Men. When we ou^ °'' hearing of the others, he informed me Wv* founel some iracks in the sand not far off, did not please him. He said they were the ■*°i £ 8 of Bushmen. nicked him how he knew. j §, .There's nothing else on two legs that can make j a track," he answered. "It is made by & small, j fyjn^Ped foot, all skin and bones. Oh, I know just as | tkj i8,8 though I had seen the,fellows themselves. And j j.wacks are fresh, too." j aft then Jot joined us. He had been to the spring .«»|4?ra^er» aQd had also discovered the tracks. | fc ■mas^sr>'J he cried, in his clear snapping ';P)::EW, I a-re ikki 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 ? U Why—I've seen them." Wbat -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 a foot 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 try to rob us." „ „ 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." j 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 I 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 eritturs human ? By the big horn spoon I saw one of 'em at Port Elizabeth, and I should call it a cross between a 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 I stuff to me." Good! cried Jot, clapping his hands. Master Ben knows. The more we kill of such kind of animals I 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 I 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 Barry 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 whea 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 Harry, 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. Thsy have fired two arrows, and I think one of our oxen is struck." Yes," said I; and one of the arro ws came through the top 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 madeno demonstration of alarm. Xf-ter some further conference it was decided that we would remain just as we were until something more transpired, Bath Jot and Bolus were confident that the Bushmen were in the adjacent thicket, and that they were watching for an opportunity to pounce upon us. Ra! Another arrow came tearing through the cover of our wagon. "They'll come upon us pretty soon," said Jofc. Xf 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 1fJ, 'Dan having led him carefully out in the shadow, bad 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 the 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 caver? asked Andrew. Certainly," replied Bolus. We don't want any of their poisoned arrows flying at us." All were looking to me for the word, and I did not withhold it one 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 alive 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 shrubbery 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 the Bosjesmans, or Bushmen, are the lowest. They J 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 than 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 a.s they can steal they will wear. Their arms are knives, elubs, and bows and arrows— these latter weapons being generally poisoned. While Gash and Bolus were preparing breakfast, the other servants dug a hole m 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 hands. 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 be continued)

[No title]


OUR "CITY" ARTiOLE.i Iif'",...f.==.I

JDnhùn anD €mrdro l^axMs,…

[No title]