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Heedless, at the ambushed brink,
6. For life — the victim's utmost speed
Is mustered in this hour of need :
Spurns with wild hoof the thundering plain.
His streaming blood — his strength is sinking ;
8. We were often exposed to danger from lions, which, from the scarcity of water, frequent the pools or fountains, and some of our number had some hair-breadth escapes. One night we were quietly bivouacked at a small pool on the 'Oup River, where we never anticipated a visit from his majesty. We had just closed our united evening worship; the book was still in my hand, and the closing notes of the song of praise had scarcely fallen from our lips, when the terrific roar of the lion was heard ; our oxen, which before were quietly chewing the cud, rushed upon us, and over our fires, leaving us prostrated in a cloud of dust and sand. Hats and hymn-books, our Bible and our guns, were all scattered in wild confusion. Providentially, no serious injury was sustained ; the oxen were pursued, brought back, and secured to the wagon, for we could ill afford to lose any.
9. Africaner, seeing the reluctance of the people to pursue in a dark and gloomy ravine, grasped a firebrand, and exclaimed, “Follow me !" and but for this promptness and intrepidity we must have lost some of our number, for nothing can exceed the terror of oxen at even the smell of a lion. Though they may happen to be in the worst condition possible, worn out with fatigue and hunger, the moment the shaggy monster is perceived, they start like race-horses, with their tails erect, and sometimes days will elapse before they are found. The number of lions may be easily accounted for, when it is remembered how thinly scattered the inhabitants are; and, indeed, the whole appearance of the country impresses the mind with the idea that it is only fit for beasts
10. The following fact will show the fearful dangers to which solitary travellers are sometimes exposed. A man belonging to Mr. Schmelen's congregation, at Bethany, returning homewards from a visit to his friends, took a cir. cuitous course in order to pass a small fountain, or rather pool, where he hoped to kill an antelope, to carry home to his family. The sun had risen to some height by the time he reached the spot, and seeing no game, he laid his gun down on a shelving low rock, the back part of which was covered over with a species of dwarf thorn-bushes. He went to the water, took a hearty drink, and returned to the rock, smoked his pipe, and being a little tired, fell asleep.
11. In a short time the heat reflected from the rock awoke him, and, opening his eyes, he saw a large lion crouching
before him, with its eyes glaring in his face, and within little more than a yard of his feet. He sat motionless for some minutes, till he had recovered his presence of mind; then eying his gun, moved his hand slowly towards it. The lion seeing him, raised its head and gave a tremendous roar. He made another and another attempt, but the gun being far beyond his reach, he gave it up, as the lion seemed well aware of his object, and was enraged whenever he attempted to move his hand.
12. His situation now became painful in the extreme; the rock on which he sat became so hot that he could scarcely bear his naked feet to touch it, and kept moving them, alternately placing one above the other. The day passed, and the night also, but the lion never moved from the spot. The sun rose again, and its intense heat soon rendered his feet past feeling. At noon the lion rose and walked to the water, only a few yards distant, looking behind as it went, lest the man should move, and seeing him stretch out his hand to take his gun, turned in a rage, and was on the point of springing upon him. The animal went to the water, drank, and returning, lay down again at the edge of the rock.
13. Another night passed; the man, in describing it, said he knew not whether he slept, but if he did, it must have been with his eyes open, for he always saw the lion at his feet. Next day, in the forenoon, the animal went again to the water, and while there, he listened to some noise apparently from an opposite quarter, and disappeared in the bushes. The man now made another effort, and seized his gun; but, on attempting to rise, he fell, his ankles being
With his gun in his hand, he crept towards the water, and drank; but looking at his feet, he saw, as he expressed it, his “toes roasted,” and the skin torn off with
14. There he sat a few moments, expecting the lion's return, when he was resolved to send the contents of the gun through its head; but as it did not appear, tying his gun to his back, the poor man made the best of his way on his hands and knees to the nearest path, hoping some solitary individual might pass.
He could go no further, when, providentially, a person came up, who took him to a place of safety, from whence he obtained help, though he lost his toes, and was a cripple for life.
15. The country through which we had to travel was quite of a different character from that we had passed. It was mountainous, and wooded to the summits. Evergreens adorned the valleys, in which numerous streams of excellent water flowed through many a winding course towards the Indian Ocean. During the first and second day's journey, I was charmed exceedingly, and was often reminded of Scotia's hills and dales. As it was a rainy season, everything was fresh, the cluinps of trees that studded the plains being covered with rich and living verdure. But these rocks and vales, and picturesque scenes, were often vocal with the lion's roar.
16. It was a country once covered with a dense population. On the sides of the hills and Kashan mountains were towns in ruins, where thousands once made the country alive, amidst fruitful vales, now covered with luxuriant grass, inhabited by game. The extirpating invasions of the Mantatees and . Matabele had left to beasts of prey the undisputed right of these lovely woodland glens. The lion, which had revelled in human flesh, as if conscious that there was none to oppose, roamed at large, a terror to the traveller, who often heard with dismay his nightly roaring echoed back by the surrounding hills. We were mercifully preserved during the nights, though our slumbers were often interrupted by his fearful howlings.
17. We had frequently to take our guns and precede the wagon, as the oxen sometimes took fright at the sudden rush of a rhinoceros or buffalo from a thicket. More than one instance occurred when, a rhinoceros being aroused from his slunabers by the crack of the whips, the oxen would scampe
off like race-horses, when destruction of gear and some part of the wagon was the result.
18. As there was no road, we were frequently under the necessity of taking very circuitous routes to find a passage through deep ravines; and we were often obliged to employ picks, spades, and hatchets, to clear our way. When we bivouacked for the night, a plain was generally selected, that we might be the better able to defend ourselves; and when firewood was plentiful, we made a number of fires at a distance around the wagon. But when it rained, our situation was pitiful indeed ; and we only wished it to rain so hard that the lion might not like to leave his lair.
19. I may add, that during the day, having shot a rhinoceros, we had reserved the hump of the animal to roast during the night; a large ant-hill was selected for the purpose, and being prepared by excavation and fire, this tit-bit was deposited. During the night, a couple of lions, attracted by the roast, drew near; and though it was beyond gun-shot, we could hear them distinctly, as if holding council to wait till the fire went out, to obtain for themselves our anticipated breakfast. As the fire appeared to have gone out altogether, we had given up hope, till morning light showed us that the lions had been in earnest, but the heat of the smouldering ant-hill had effectually guarded our steak.
20. It is a pleasing, sometimes an exciting exercise, to look back on the rugged path which we have been called to tread, and to recount the dangers from which a gracious Providence has rescued us. Some of these have been so striking, that when I recall the circumstances, I am forcibly impressed with the sentiment, that “ man is immortal till his work is done.” On the present journey, when travelling alone in a woody and sequestered place, I left the direct road to avoid a ford, where there were many crocodiles. I had not proceeded two stone-casts, when it suddenly occurred to me, that I should like to examine a projecting rock which lay beyond the path I had left. After examining the object which had