Monday, April 30, 2012

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 13) ( Page 1 ) The Allies

Jock disliked kaffirs: so did Jim.  To Jim there were three big divisions of the human race--white men, Zulus, and niggers.  Zulu, old or young, was greeted by him as equal, friend and comrade; but the rest were trash, and he cherished a most particular contempt for the Shangaans and Chopis, as a lot who were just about good enough for what they did--that is, work in the mines.  They could neither fight nor handle animals; and the sight of them stirred him to contempt and pricked him to hostilities. It was not long before Jim discovered this bond of sympathy between him and Jock, and I am perfectly sure that the one bad habit which Jock was never cured of was due to deliberate encouragement from Jim on every possible opportunity.  It would have been a matter of difficulty and patience in any case to teach Jock not to unnecessarily attack strange kaffirs.  It was very important that he should have nothing to do with them, and should treat them with suspicion as possible enemies and keep them off the premises.  I was glad that he did it by his own choice and instinct; but this being so, it needed all the more intelligence and training to get him to understand just where to draw the line.  Jim made it worse; he made the already difficult task practically impossible by egging Jock on; and what finally made it quite impossible was the extremely funny turn it took, which caused such general amusement that every one joined in the conspiracy and backed up Jock. Every one knows how laughable it is to see a person dancing about like a mad dervish, with legs and arms going in all directions, dodging the rushes of a dog, especially if the spectator knows that the dog will not do any real harm and is more intent on scaring his victim, just for the fun of the thing, than on hunting him.  Well, that is how it began. As far as I know the first incident arose out of the intrusion of a strange kaffir at one of the outspans.  Jock objected, and he was forcing a scared boy back step by step--doing the same feinting rushes that he practised with game--until the boy tripped over a camp stool and sat plump down on the three-legged pot of porridge cooking at the camp fire.  I did not see it; for Jock was, as usual, quite silent--a feature which always had a most terrifying effect on his victims: it was a roar like a lion's from Jim that roused me.  Jock was standing off with his feet on the move forwards and backwards, his head on one side and his face full of interest, as if he would dearly love another romp in; and the waggon-boys were reeling and rolling about the grass, helpless with laughter. A dog is just as quick as a child to find out when he can take liberties; he knows that laughter and serious disapproval do not go together; and Jock with the backing of the boys thoroughly enjoyed him-self.  That was how it began; and by degrees it developed into the great practical joke.  The curious thing to note was the way in which Jock entered into the spirit of the thing, and how he improved and varied his methods.  It was never certain what he would do; sometimes it would be a wild romp, as it was that day; at other times he would stalk the intruder in the open, much as a pointer approaches his birds in the last strides, and with eyes fixed steadily and mouth tightly pursed-up, he would move straight at him with infinite slowness and deliberation until, the boy's nerve failed, and he turned and ran.  At other times again he trotted out as if he had seen nothing, and then stopped suddenly.  If the boy came on, Jock waited; but if there was any sign of fear or hesitation, he lowered his head, humped up his shoulders--as a stagey boxer does when he wants to appear ferocious--and gave his head a kind of chuck forward, as if in the act of charging: this seldom failed to shake the intruder's nerve, and as soon as he turned or backed, the romp began.  Still another trick was to make a round in the bush and come up behind unobserved, and then make a furious dash with rumbly gurgly growls; the startled boy invariably dropped all he had, breaking into a series of fantastic capers and excited yells, to the huge delight of Jim and the others. But these things were considered trifles: the piece that always `brought the house down' was the Shangaan gang trick, which on one occasion nearly got us all into serious trouble.  The natives going to or from  the goldfields travel in gangs of from four or five to forty or fifty; they walk along in Indian-file, and even when going across the veld or walking on wide roads they wind along singly in the footsteps of the leader.  What prompted the dog to start this new game I cannot imagine: certainly no one could have taught it to him; and as well as one could judge, he did it entirely `off his own bat,' without anything to lead up to or suggest it.

Kruger National Park Safari with Darby Gilbertson, Albert Tong and his wife from the 26th - 27 April 2012

We picked up Albert and his wife from the park Hyatt hotel and Darby from the City Lodge Airport, before making our way out of Johannesburg in the direction of Nelspruit. We travelled on, stopping off at Milly's Road stop for a break before continuing on. We passed through Nelspruit and on to Rockies Drift were we changed into our open safari vehicle for the duration of the safari. We drove the last couple of Kilometers to the Numbi Gate, and after check in proceedures were completed and a safety briefing given , we made our way down tpo Pretoriuskop for a lunch break, before going on a game drive, We left camp at about 13h45 and it was not long before we got our first sighting of rhino. We carried on down the Napi road, getting good sightings of elephant and more rhino. We got two messages on the radio of lion sightings, we made our way in that direction, only to find that they had already moved off. We also got a message of a leopard that was in the tree, so we decided to take a slow drive down as he had an impala kill in the tree with him. On route, we got good sightings of impala, giraffe, as well as a good number of the grazing species of anials found in the park. We turned on the Doispane road and made our way down to the tree where the leopard was, only to find that his kill was there, but he was gone. We decided to make our way down the road and come back a bit later. We found a great sighting of some rhino, and after some good time spent on this sighting and as the time was going before we had to be in the camp, we made our ay back to the leopard sighting, only to find our friend at home busy eating on his kill. We spen some good time on this sighting, and after getting some good photos, it was off to the camp of Skukuza were we would spend the night. After checking everybody inn, we met again at 19h00 for dinner at the Selati Restaurant and afterwards it was off to bed to get a good nights rest.

Next morning, it was up early and after enjoying tea and coffee, it was out and on to the road to see what we could find, We made our way down alongside the Sabie river, getting good sightings of hippo, crocodile, bushbuck, elephant and buffalo. We made our way down to the Nkulu Picnic spot were the guests enjoyed a good breakfast. After breakfast, it was back on the road to see what we could find, before making our way back to the Numbi Gate and then on to Johannesburg. On our return journey to Skukuza, we came accross a female lion lying next to the river, and after spending some good time with her e made our way on. We turned at the Skukuza fourways and made our way back down the Napi Road that would take us back to the Numbi gate. As we were travelling down the road, we received a radio message about a mating pair of lions down the H3 from the Napi road, so we decided to take a look. Upon arrival at the sighting, we found a male and female lion lying close to the road, and after a short while the female got up and alked close to our open safari vehicle to a tree to get some shade from the hot sun. We spent some good time on this sighting, before making our way back to the Napi Road, and then onto the Numbi Gate. We made our way back to Rockies Drift, ere we changed into our transfer vehicle and made our way back to Johannesburg. 

Feedback from the guests wwas that they really enjoyed the short safari, and will be returning with more members of there family who would no doubt enjoy doing something like this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Jock Of the Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick (Chapter 12 )( Page 4 ) Jim Mokakel

When sober Jim spoke Zulu; when drunk, he broke into the strangest and most laughable medley of kitchen-Kaffir, bad Dutch, and worse English-- the idea being, in part to consider our meaner intelligences and in part to show what an accomplished linguist he was.  There was no difficulty in knowing when Jim would go wrong: he broke out whenever he got a chance, whether at a kraal, where he could always quicken the reluctant hospitality of any native, at a wayside canteen, or in a town.  Money was fatal--he drank it all out; but want of money was no security, for he was known to every one and seemed to have friends everywhere; and if he had not, he made them on the spot--annexed and overwhelmed them. From time to time you do meet people like that.  The world's their oyster, and the gift of a masterful and infinite confidence opens it every time: they walk through life taking of the best as a right, and the world unquestioningly submits. I had many troubles with Jim, but never on account of white men: drunk or sober, there was never trouble there.  It may have been Rorke's Drift and Ulundi that did it; but whatever it was, the question of black and white was settled in his mind for ever.  He was respectful, yet stood upright with the rough dignity of an unvanquished spirit; but on the one great issue he never raised his hand or voice again.  His troubles all came from drink, and the exasperation was at times almost unbearable—so great, indeed, that on many occasions I heartily repented ever having taken him on.  Warnings were useless, and punishment--well, the shiny new skin that made patterns in lines and stars and crosses on his back for the rest of his life made answer for always upon that point. The trials and worries were often great indeed.  The trouble began as soon as we reached a town, and he had a hundred excuses for going in, and a hundred more for not coming out: he had some one to see, boots to be mended, clothes to buy, or medicine to get--the only illness I ever knew him have was `a pain inside,' and the only medicine wanted--grog!-- some one owed him money--a stock excuse, and the idea of Jim, always penniless and always in debt, posing as a creditor never failed to raise a laugh, and he would shake his head with a half-fierce half-sad disgust at the general scepticism and his failure to convince me.  Then he had relations in every town!  Jim, the sole survivor of his fighting kraal, produced `blulus,' `babas,' `sisteles,' and even `mamas,' in profusion, and they died just before we reached the place, as regularly as the office-boy's aunt dies before Derby Day, and with the same consequence-- he had to go to the funeral. The first precaution was to keep him at the waggons and put the towns and canteens `out of bounds'; and the last defence, to banish him entirely until he came back sober, and meanwhile set other boys to do his work, paying them his wages in cash in his presence when he returned fit for duty. "Is it as I told you?  Is it just?"  I would ask when this was done. "It is just, Inkos," he would answer with a calm dispassionate simplicity which appealed for forgiveness and confidence with far greater force than any repentance; and it did so because it was genuine; it was natural and unstudied.  There was never a trace of feeling to be detected when these affairs were squared off, but I knew how he hated the treatment, and it helped a little from time to time to keep him right. The banishing of him from the waggons in order that he might go away and have it over was not a device to save myself trouble, and I did it only when it was clear that he could stand the strain no longer.  It was simply a choice of evils, and it seemed to me better to let him go, clearly understanding the conditions, than drive him into breaking away with the bad results to him and the bad effects on the others of disobeying orders.  It was, as a rule, far indeed from saving me trouble, for after the first bout of drinking he almost invariably found his way back to the waggons: the drink always produced a ravenous craving for meat, and when his money was gone and he had fought his fill and cleared out all opposition, he would come back to the waggons at any hour of the night, perhaps even two or three times between dark and dawn, to beg for meat.  Warnings and orders had no effect whatever; he was unconscious of everything except the overmastering craving for meat. He would come to my waggon and begin that deadly monotonous recitation, "Funa 'nyama, Inkos!  Wanta meat, Baas!"  There was a kind of hopeless determination in the tone conveying complete indifference to all consequences: meat he must have.  He was perfectly respectful; every order to be quiet or go away or go to bed was received with the formal raising of the hand aloft, the most respectful of salutations, and the assenting, "Inkos!" but in the very next breath would come the old monotonous request, "Funa 'nyama, Inkos," just as if he was saying it for the first time.  The persistency was awful--it was maddening; and there was no remedy, for it was not the result of voluntary or even conscious effort on his part; it was a sort of automatic process, a result of his physical condition.  Had he known it would cost him his life, he could no more have resisted it than have resisted breathing. When the meat was there I gave it, and he would sit by the fire for hours eating incredible quantities--cutting it off in slabs and devouring it when not much more than warmed.  But it was not always possible to satisfy him in that way; meat was expensive in the towns and often we had none at all at the waggons.  Then the night became one long torment: the spells of rest might extend from a quarter of an hour to an hour; then from the dead sleep of downright weariness I would be roused by the deep far-reaching voice; "Funa 'nyama, Inkos" wove itself into my dreams, and waking I would find Jim standing beside me remorselessly urging the same request in Zulu, in broken English, and in Dutch--"My wanta meat, Baas," "Wil fleisch krij, Baas," and the old, old, hatefully familiar explanation of the difference between "man's food" and "piccanins' food," interspersed with grandiose declarations that he was "Makokela--Jim Makokel'," who "catchum lion 'live."  Sometimes he would expand this into comparisons between himself and the other boys, much to their disadvantage; and on these occasions he invariably worked round to his private grievances, and expressed his candid opinions of Sam. Sam was the boy whom I usually set to do Jim's neglected work.  He was a `mission boy,' that is a Christian kaffir--very proper in his behaviour, but a weakling and not much good at work.  Jim would enumerate all Sam's shortcomings; how he got his oxen mixed up on dark nights and could not pick them out of the herd--a quite unpardonable offence; how he stuck in the drifts and had to be `double-spanned' and pulled out by Jim; how he once lost his way in the bush; and how he upset the waggon coming down the Devil's Shoot. Jim had once brought down the Berg from Spitzkop a loaded waggon on which there was a cottage piano packed standing upright.  The road was an awful one, it is true, and few drivers could have handled so top-heavy a load without capsizing--he had received a bansela for his skill--but to him the feat was one without parallel in the history of waggon driving; and when drunk he usually coupled it with his other great achievement of catching a lion alive.  His contempt for Sam's misadventure on the Devil's Shoot was therefore great, and to it was added resentment against Sam's respectability and superior education, which the latter was able to rub in in safety by ostentatiously reading his Bible aloud at nights as they sat round the fire.  Jim was a heathen, and openly affirmed his conviction that a Christian kaffir was an impostor, a bastard, and a hypocrite--a thing not to be trusted under any circumstances whatever.  The end of his morose outburst was always the same.  When his detailed indictment of Sam was completed he would wind up with, "My catchum lion 'live.  My bling panyanna fon Diskop (I bring piano from Spitzkop).  My naam Makokela: Jim Makokel'.  Sam no good; Sam leada Bible (Sam reads the Bible).  Sam no good!"  The intensity of conviction and the gloomy disgust put into the last reference to Sam are not to be expressed in words. Where warning and punishment availed nothing threats would have been worse than foolish.  Once, when he had broken bounds and left the waggons, I threatened that if he did it again I would tie him up, since he was like a dog that could not be trusted; and I did it.  He had no excuse but the old ones; some one, he said, had brought him liquor to the waggons and he had not known what he was doing.  The truth was that the craving grew so with the nearer prospect of drink that by hook or by crook he would find some one, a passerby or a boy from other waggons, to fetch some for him; and after that nothing could hold him. If Jim ever wavered in his loyalty to me, it must have been the day I tied him up: he must have been very near hating me then.  I had caught him as he was leaving the waggons and still sober; brought him back and told him to sit under his own waggon where I would tie him up like a dog.  I took a piece of sail twine, tied it to one wrist, and, fastening the other end to the waggon-wheel, left him. A kaffir's face becomes, when he wishes it, quite inscrutable—as expressionless as a blank wall.  But there are exceptions to every rule; and Jim's stoicism was not equal to this occasion.  The look of unspeakable disgust and humiliation on his face was more than I could bear with comfort; and after half an hour or so in the pillory I released him.  He did not say a word, but, heedless of the hot sun, rolled himself in his blankets and, sleeping or not, never moved for the rest of the day.

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 12 )( Page 3) Jim Mokakel

At the second thin whistling stroke some one said, "That's a sjambok he's using, not a nek-strop!"  Sjambok, that will cut a bullock's hide! At about the eighth there was a wrench that made the waggon rattle, and the deep voice was raised in protest, "Ow, Inkos!" It made me choke: it was the first I knew of such things, and the horror of it was unbearable; but the man who had spoken before--a good man too, straight and strong, and trusted by black and white--said, "Sonny, you must not interfere between a man and his boys here; it's hard sometimes, but we'd not live a day if they didn't know who was baas." I think we counted eighteen; and then everything seemed going to burst. The white man looked about at the faces close to him--and stopped.  He began slowly to untie the outstretched arms, and blustered out some threats.  But no one said a word! The noises died down as the night wore on, until the stillness was broken only by the desultory barking of a kaffir dog or the crowing of some awakened rooster who had mistaken the bright moonlight for the dawn and thought that all the world had overslept itself.  But for me there was one other sound for which I listened into the cool of morning with the quivering sensitiveness of a bruised nerve.  Sometimes it was a long catchy sigh, and sometimes it broke into a groan just audible, like the faintest rumble of most distant surf.  Twice in the long night there came the same request to one of the boys near him, uttered in a deep clear unshaken voice and in a tone that was civil but firm, and strangely moving from its quiet indifference. "Landela manzi, Umganaam!"  ("Bring water, friend!") was all he said; and each time the request was so quickly answered that I had the guilty feeling of being one in a great conspiracy of silence.  The hush was unreal; the stillness alive with racing thoughts; the darkness full of watching eyes. There is, we believe, in the heart of every being a little germ of justice which men call conscience!  If that be so, there must have been in the heart of the white man that night some uneasy movement--the first life-throb of the thought which one who had not yet written has since set down:   "Though I've belted you and flayed you,   By the living God that made you,   You're a better man than I am, Gunga Din!" The following afternoon I received an ultimatum.  We had just returned from the town when from a group of boys squatting round the fire there stood up one big fellow--a stranger--who raised his hand high above his head in Zulu fashion and gave their salute in the deep bell-like voice that there was no mistaking, "Inkos!  Bayete!" He stepped forward, looking me all over, and announced with calm and settled conviction, "I have come to work for you!"  I said nothing. Then he rapped a chest like a big drum, and nodding his head with a sort of defiant confidence added in quaint English, "My naam Makokela!  Jim Makokel'!  Yes!  My catchum lion 'live!  Makokela, me!" He had heard that I wanted a driver, had waited for my return, and annexed me as his future `baas' without a moment's doubt or hesitation. I looked him over.  Big, broad-shouldered, loose-limbed, and as straight as an assegai!  A neck and head like a bull's; a face like a weather-beaten rock, storm-scarred and furrowed, rugged and ugly, but steadfast, massive and strong!  So it looked then, and so it turned out: for good and for evil Jim was strong. I nodded and said, "You can come." Once more he raised his head aloft, and, simply and without a trace of urprise or gratification, said: "Yes, you are my chief, I will work for you."  In his own mind it had been settled already: it had never been in doubt. Jim--when sober--was a splendid worker and the most willing of servants, and, drunk or sober, he was always respectful in an independent, upstanding, hearty kind of way.  His manner was as rough and rugged as his face and character; in his most peaceful moments it was--to one who did not understand him--almost fierce and aggressive; but this was only skin deep; for the childlike simplicity of the African native was in him to the full, and rude bursts of Titanic laughter came readily—laughter as strong and unrestrained as his bursts of passion. To the other boys he was what his nature and training had made him—not really a bully, but masterful and over-riding.  He gave his orders with the curtness of a drill sergeant and the rude assurance of a savage chief.  Walking, he walked his course, giving way for none of them.  At the outspan or on the road or footpath he shouldered them aside as one walks through standing corn, not aggressively but with the superb indifference of right and habit unquestioned.  If one, loitering before him, blocked his way unseeing, there was no pause or step aside—just "Suka!"  ("Get out") and a push that looked effortless enough but sent the offender staggering; or, if he had his sticks, more likely a smart whack on the stern that was still more surprising; and not even the compliment of a glance back from Jim as he stalked on.  He was like the old bull in a herd--he walked his course; none molested and none disputed; the way opened before him.

Kruger Park Safari with Dr and Mrs Dube, Ted and Jan and Celine Coco and Friends Day 3 and 4

Guests left at 17h00 on there night drive aboard a vehicle from the National Parks together with there guide. While out on the drive they got to see rhino, elephant and buffalo as well as lots of owls etc. Guests arrived back a little before 20h00 as it had started to rain and had become very cold.

Next morning, it was up early again and after packing all the luggage and enjoying tea and coffee, it was out on the road again for the final game drive. The morning was bitterly cold with lots of rain, so few animals were seen. However good sightings of elephant, hyena and side stripped jackal were found. Guests returned to the camp at 09h00 to enjoy breakfast.

After breakfast, it was time to leave the park, and after a transfer aboard the open vehicle to Nelspruit, we changed over into our warm transfer vehicle and made our way back to Johannesburg.

Feedback from the guests was that they had a wonderful time, and would like to return for a longer safari. Some of the guests will be returning next year with there whole family, in order for them to experience a safari such as they have just done.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Kruger Park Safari with Dr and Mrs Dube, Ted and Jan and Celine Coco and Friends Day 2 and 3

We left camp yesterday at 15h30 for an afternoon game drive, we turned onto the "Napi Road" and made our way down to the "Napi Boulders Road", were was enjoyed, we went looking for some good rhino. it was not long before we found a male and female white rhino close to the road. After a good sighting we made our way on also getting some good sightings of giraffe. We made our wayback to the Napi Road were we turned in the direction of the camp, only to find two more rhino's. After a good long sighting with these guys, we continued on our way, coming up on another four rhino's next to the these road. After all these rhino sightings, we made our way down to Shithave dam and spent some time there. After a good rest next to the dam, we made our way onto the  Albesini Road, making a turn at Mentsel Dam  to see the hippos. We continued our drive onto the Shabeni Kopies, as we wanted to do it as late as possible to see if we could see the lions that had been seen earlier in the day. We managed to find the lions at about 17h45, which was fifteen minutes before the camps gates closed. We made it back with one minute to spare. Guests enjoyed a good dinner at the camp restaurant, before retireing for a good nights rest.

It was up enjoying early again this morning, and after enjoying tea and coffee, it was back on the road to see what we  could find. We made our way back to Shabeni Kopies looking for the lions from last night. But unfortunetly they could not be found. We made our way down the Shabeni link and turned onto the Albesini Road, at 3,8 km's down, we came upon a male cheetah lying next to the road marker. After a while, he got up and walked to an Apple Leaf tree, where he proceeded to mark territory. We drove on getting good sightings of buffalo, zebra and more rhino. As we got to the Watergat junction, we received a call of lions on the "paul Kruger Gate" road, so we hurried in that direction. We managed to get a good sighting of two young males walking in the road. We managed to spend some good time on the sighting with thelions sometimes walking as close as one meter from our open safari vehicle. After this good sighting, we decided tomake our way to breakfast at the "Skukuza Golf Club", on route getting more sightings of rhino and elephant. After a nice breakfast was enjoyed, we made our way down to the river to see what we could find. A great sighting of hippos, crocodiles and another lion, this time a female with her two cubs walking accross the road.

We made our way back to Skukuza, were the group had a break, and then it was back Pretoriuskop camp for an afternoons rest, bfore going out on there night drive.

Final days update with photos to follow in the next post...... 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Kruger Park Safari with Dr and Mrs Dube, Ted and Jan and Celine Coco and Friends Day 1 and 2

We picked up Dr and mrs Dube at the "Plum Pudding Guest House", Ted and Jan were picked up from the airport and Celine and friends from a guest house in Bonearo Park. We made our way through to the city of Nelspruit, were we changed from our closed vehicle into one of our open safari vehicles for the last portion of the trip to the Kruger National Park. We entered through the "numbi gate, and made our way to the camp of Pretoriuskop. After check in proceedures, guests were given a chance to enjoy lunch, before leaving the camp on there first game drive. After a safety briefing, it was out onto the road to see wcould what we could find. It was not long before we encountered some buffalo feeding next to the road, and then we got to see some good rhino that had just crossed over the Napi Road. We drove on and after a bit of a drive came accross "Stompie" the elephant feeding close to Transport Dam. We managed to get some good photos, before having to turn around and make for the camp due to it getting late and having to be in the camp before six o clock. After a good meal in the restuarant, it was off to bed to get a good nights rest before gettng up early in the morning to get back on the road.

We all came together at 05h45, and after enjoying tea and coffee, it was out on the road to see what we could find. Great sightings of buffalo, rhino, elephant and hyena were seen. We made our way down to the picnic spot of Nkhulu for breakfast. After enjoying a good breakfast, it was time tocarry on looking for animals as we made our way back in the direction of "Numbi Gate" in order for Dr and Mrs Dube to get there transfer back to Johannesburg. After dropping off the guests, we made our way back to the camp in order for everybody to have a rest before leaving on another game drive.

To find out what is seen on the rest of the safari, keep watching the next post.......

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 12 )( Page 2 ) Jim Makokel

His real name was Makokela, but in accordance with a common Zulu habit, it was usually abbreviated to Makokel'!  Among a certain number of the white men--of the sort who never can get any name right--he was oddly enough known as McCorkindale.  I called him Jim as a rule--Makokel', when relations were strained.  The waggon-boys found it safer to use his proper name.  When anything had upset him it was not considered wise to take the liberty of shouting "Jim": the answer sometimes came in the shape of a hammering. Many men had employed Jim before he came to me, and all had `sacked' him for fighting, drinking, and the unbearable worry he caused.  They told me this, and said that he gave more trouble than his work was worth.  It may have been true: he certainly was a living test of patience, purpose, and management; but, for something learnt in that way, I am glad now that Jim never `got the sack' from me.  Why he did not, is not easy to say; perhaps the circumstances under which he came to me and the hard knocks of an unkind fate pleaded for him.  But it was not that alone: there was something in Jim himself--something good and fine, something that shone out from time to time through his black skin and battered face as the soul of a real man. It was in the first season in the Bushveld that we were outspanned one night on the sand-hills overlooking Delagoa Bay among scores of other waggons dotted about in little camps--all loading or waiting for loads to transport to the Transvaal.  Delagoa was not a good place to stay in, in those days: liquor was cheap and bad; there was very little in the way of law and order; and every one took care of himself as well as he could.  The Kaffir kraals were close about the town, and the natives of the place were as rascally a lot of thieves and vagabonds as you could find anywhere.  The result was everlasting trouble with the waggon-boys and a chronic state of war between them and the natives and the banyans or Arab traders of the place.  The boys, with pockets full of wages, haggled and were cheated in the stores, and by the hawkers, and in the canteens; and they often ended up the night with beer-drinking at the kraals or reprisals on their enemies.  Every night there were fights and robberies: the natives or Indians would rob and half-kill a waggon-boy; then he in turn would rally his friends, and raid and clear out the kraal or the store.  Most of the waggon-boys were Zulus or of Zulu descent, and they were always ready for a fight and would tackle any odds when their blood was up. It was the third night of our stay, and the usual row was on.  Shouts and cries, the beating of tomtoms, and shrill ear-piercing whistles, came from all sides; and through it all the dull hum of hundreds of human voices, all gabbling together.  Near to us there was another camp of four waggons drawn up in close order, and as we sat talking and wondering at the strange babel in the beautiful calm moonlight night, one sound was ever recurring, coming away out of all the rest with something in it that fixed our attention.  It was the sound of two voices from the next waggons.  One voice was a kaffir's--a great, deep, bull-throated voice; it was not raised--it was monotonously steady and low; but it carried far, with the ring and the lingering vibration of a big gong. "Funa 'nyama, Inkos; funa 'nyama!"  ("I want meat, Chief; I want meat!") was what the kaffir's voice kept repeating at intervals of a minute or two with deadly monotony and persistency. The white man's voice grew more impatient, louder, and angrier, with each refusal; but the boy paid no heed.  A few minutes later the same request would be made, supplemented now and then with, "I am hungry, Baas, I can't sleep.  Meat!  Meat!  Meat!" or, "Porridge and bread are for women and piccaninnies.  I am a man: I want meat, Baas, meat."  From the white man it was, "Go to sleep, I tell you!" "Be quiet, will you?" "Shut up that row!" "Be still, you drunken brute, or I'll tie you up!" and "You'll get twenty-five in a minute!" It may have lasted half an hour when one of our party said, "That's Bob's old driver, the big Zulu.  There'll be a row to-night; he's with a foreigner chap from Natal now.  New chums are always roughest on the niggers." In a flash I remembered Bob Saunderson's story of the boy who had caught the lion alive, and Bob's own words, "a real fine nigger, but a terror to drink, and always in trouble.  He fairly wore me right out." A few minutes later there was a short scuffle, and the boy's voice could be heard protesting in the same deep low tone: they were tying him up to th e waggon-wheel for a flogging.  Others were helping the white man, but the boy was not resisting.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 12 )( Page 1 ) Jim Makokel

I am very much afraid that most people would consider him rather a bad lot.  The fact of the matter is he belonged to another period and other conditions.  He was simply a great passionate fighting savage, and, instead of wearing the cast-off clothing of the white man and peacefully driving bullock waggons along a transport road, should have been decked in his savage finery of leopard skin and black ostrich-feathers, showing off the powerful bronzed limbs and body all alive with muscle, and
sharing in some wild war-dance; or, equipped with shield and assegais, leading in some murderous fight.  Yes, Jim was out of date: he should have been one of the great Chaka's fighting guard--to rise as a leader of men, or be killed on the way.  He had but one argument and one answer to everything: Fight!  It was his nature, bred and born in him; it ran in his blood and grew in his bones.  He was a survival of a great fighting race--there are still thousands of them in the kraals of Zululand and Swaziland--but it was his fate to belong to one of the expelled families, and to have to live and work among the white men under the Boer Government of the Transvaal. In a fighting nation Jim's kraal was known as a fighting one, and the turbulent blood that ran in their veins could not settle down into a placid stream merely because the Great White Queen had laid her hand upon his people and said, "There shall be peace!"  Chaka, the `black Napoleon' whose wars had cost South Africa over a million lives, had died--murdered by his brother Dingaan--full of glory, lord and master wherever his impis could reach.  "Dogs whom I fed at my kraal!" he gasped, as they stabbed him.  Dingaan his successor, as cruel as treacherous, had been crushed by the gallant little band of Boers under
Potgieter for his fiendish massacre of Piet Retief and his little band. Panda the third of the three famous brothers--Panda the peaceful—had come and gone!  Ketshwayo, after years of arrogant and unquestioned rule, had loosed his straining impis at the people of the Great White Queen.  The awful day of 'Sandhl'wana--where the 24th Regiment died almost to a man--and the fight on H'lobani Mountain had blooded the impis to madness; but Rorke's Drift and Kambula had followed those bloody victories--each within a few hours--to tell another tale; and at Ulundi the tides met--the black and the white.  And the kingdom and might of the house of Chaka were no more. Jim had fought at 'Sandhl'wana, and could tell of an umfaan sent out to herd some cattle within sight of the British camp to draw the troops out raiding while the impis crept round by hill and bush and donga behind them; of the fight made by the red-coats as, taken in detail, they were attacked hand to hand with stabbing assegais, ten and twenty to one; of one man in blue--a sailor--who was the last to die, fighting with his back to a waggon-wheel against scores before him, and how he fell at last, stabbed in the back through the spokes of the wheel by one who had crept up behind. Jim had fought at Rorke's Drift!  Wild with lust of blood, he had gone on with the maddest of the victory-maddened lot to invade Natal and eat up the little garrison on the way.  He could tell how seventy or eighty
white men behind a little rampart of biscuit-tins and flour-bags had fought through the long and terrible hours, beating off five thousand of the Zulu best, fresh from a victory without parallel or precedent; how, from the burning hospital, Sergeant Hook, V.C., and others carried sick and wounded through the flames into the laager; how a man in black with a long beard, Father Walsh, moved about with calm face, speaking to some, helping others, carrying wounded back and cartridges forward-- Father Walsh who said "Don't swear, boys: fire low;" how Lieutenants Chard and Bromhead--V.C.s too for that day's work--led and fought, and guided and heartened their heroic little band until the flour-bags and biscuit-tins stood lower than the pile of dead outside, and the Zulu host was beaten and Natal saved that day. Jim had seen all that--and Ulundi, the Day of Despair!  And he knew the power of the Great White Queen and the way that her people fight.  But
peace was not for him or his kraal: better any fight than no fight.  He rallied to Usibepu in the fight for leadership when his King, Ketshwayo, was gone, and Jim's kraal had moved--and moved too soon: they were surrounded one night and massacred; and Jim fought his way out, wounded
and alone.  Without kith or kin, cattle, king, or country, he fled to the Transvaal--to work for the first time in his life! Waggon-boys--as the drivers were called--often acquired a certain amount of reputation on the road or in the locality where they worked; but it was, as a rule, only a reputation as good or bad drivers.  In Jim's case it was different.  He was a character and had an individual reputation, which was exceptional in a Kaffir.  I had better say at once that not even his best friend would claim that that reputation was a good one. He was known as the best driver, the strongest nigger, the hardest fighter, and the worst drinker on the road.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick (Chapter 11 )( Page 3 ) The Koodoo Bull

Keeping what cover there was I came up slowly behind them, struggling and using all the force I dared, short of smashing the lever, to get the empty cartridge out.  At last one of the turns in the fight brought me in view, and the koodoo dashed off again.  For a little way the pace seemed as great as ever, but it soon died away; the driving power was gone; the strain and weight on the one sound leg and the tripping of the broken one were telling; and from that on I was close enough to see it all.  In the first rush the koodoo seemed to dash right over Jock—the swirl of dust and leaves and the bulk of the koodoo hiding him; then I saw him close abreast, looking up at it and making furious jumps for its nose, alternately from one side and the other, as they raced along together.  The koodoo holding its nose high and well forward, as they do when on the move, with the horns thrown back almost horizontally, was out of his reach and galloped heavily on completely ignoring his attacks. There is a suggestion of grace and poise in the movement of the koodoo bull's head as he gallops through the bush which is one of his distinctions above the other antelopes.  The same supple balancing movement that one notes in the native girls bearing their calabashes of water upon their heads is seen in the neck of the koodoo, and for the same reason: the movements of the body are softened into mere undulations, and the head with its immense spiral horns seems to sail along in voluntary company--indeed almost as though it were bearing the body below. At the fourth or fifth attempt by Jock a spurt from the koodoo brought him cannoning against its shoulder, and he was sent rolling unnoticed yards away.  He scrambled instantly to his feet, but found himself again behind: it may have been this fact that inspired the next attempt, or perhaps he realised that attack in front was useless; for this time he went determinedly for the broken leg.  It swung about in wild eccentric curves, but at the third or fourth attempt he got it and hung on; and with all fours spread he dragged along the ground.  The first startled spring of the koodoo jerked him into the air; but there was no let go now, and although dragged along the rough ground and dashed about among the scrub, sometimes swinging in the air, and sometimes sliding on his back, he pulled from side to side in futile attempts to throw the big animal.  Ineffectual and even hopeless as it looked at first, Jock's attacks soon began to tell; the koodoo made wild efforts to get at him, but with every turn he turned too, and did it so vigorously that the staggering animal swayed over and had to plunge violently to recover its balance.  So they turned, this way and that, until a wilder plunge swung Jock off his feet, throwing the broken leg across the other one; then, with feet firmly planted, Jock tugged again, and the koodoo trying to regain its footing was tripped by the crossed legs and came down with a crash. As it fell Jock was round and fastened on the nose; but it was no duiker, impala or rietbuck that he had to deal with this time.  The koodoo gave a snort of indignation and shook its head: as a terrier shakes a rat, so it shook Jock, whipping the ground with his swinging body, and with another indignant snort and toss of the head flung him off, sending him skidding along the ground on his back.  The koodoo had fallen on the wounded leg and failed to rise with the first effort; Jock while still slithering along the ground on his back was tearing at the air with his feet in his mad haste to get back to the attack, and as he scrambled up, he raced in again with head down and the little eyes black with fury.  He was too mad to be wary, and my heart stood still as the long horns went round with a swish; one black point seemed to pierce him through and through, showing a foot out the other side, and a jerky twist of the great head sent him twirling like a tip-cat eight or ten feet up in the air.  It had just missed him, passing under his stomach next to the hind legs; but, until he dropped with a thud and, tearing and scrambling to his feet, he raced in again, I felt certain he had been gored through. The koodoo was up again then.  I had rushed in with rifle clubbed, with the wild idea of stunning it before it could rise, but was met by the lowered horns and unmistakable signs of charging, and beat a retreat quite as speedy as my charge. It was a running fight from that on: the instant the koodoo turned to go Jock was on to the leg again, and nothing could shake his hold.  I had to keep at a respectful distance, for the bull was still good for a furious charge, even with Jock hanging on, and eyed me in the most unpromising fashion whenever I attempted to head it off or even to come close up. The big eyes were blood-shot then, but there was no look of fear in them--they blazed with baffled rage.  Impossible as it seemed to shake Jock off or to get away from us, and in spite of the broken leg and loss of blood, the furious attempts to beat us off did not slacken.  It was a desperate running fight, and right bravely he fought it to the end. Partly barring the way in front were the whitened trunks and branches of several trees struck down by some storm of the year before, and running ahead of the koodoo I made for these, hoping to find a stick straight enough for a ramrod to force the empty cartridge out.  As I reached them the koodoo made for me with half a dozen plunges that sent me flying off for other cover; but the broken leg swayed over one of the branches, and Jock with feet planted against the tree hung on; and the koodoo, turning furiously on him, stumbled, floundered, tripped, and came down with a crash amongst the crackling wood.  Once more like a flash Jock was over the fallen body and had fastened on the nose--but only to be shaken worse than before.  The koodoo literally flogged the ground with him, and for an instant I shut my eyes; it seemed as if the plucky dog would be beaten into pulp.  The bull tried to chop him with its fore feet, but could not raise itself enough, and at each pause Jock, with his watchful little eyes ever on the alert, dodged his body round to avoid the chopping feet without letting go his hold.  Then with a snort of fury the koodoo, half rising, gave its head a wild upward sweep, and shook. As a springing rod flings a fish the koodoo flung Jock over its head and on to a low flat-topped thorn-tree behind.  The dog somersaulted slowly as he circled in the air, dropped on his back in the thorns some twelve feet from the ground, and came tumbling down through the branches. Surely the tree saved him, for it seemed as if such a throw must break his back.  As it was he dropped with a sickening thump; yet even as he fell I saw again the scrambling tearing movement, as if he was trying to race back to the fight even before he reached ground.  Without a pause to breathe or even to look, he was in again and trying once more for the nose. The koodoo lying partly on its side, with both hind legs hampered by the mass of dead wood, could not rise, but it swept the clear space in front with the terrible horns, and for some time kept Jock at bay.  I tried stick after stick for a ramrod, but without success; at last, in desperation at seeing Jock once more hanging to the koodoo's nose, I hooked the lever on to a branch and setting my foot against the tree wrenched until the empty cartridge flew out and I went staggering backwards. In the last struggle, while I was busy with the rifle, the koodoo had moved, and it was then lying against one of the fallen trunks.  The first swing to get rid of Jock had literally slogged him against the tree; the second swing swept him under it where a bend in the trunk raised it: about a foot from the ground, and gaining his foothold there Jock stood fast--there, there, with his feet planted firmly and his shoulder humped against the dead tree, he stood this tug-of-war.  The koodoo with its head twisted back, as caught at the end of the swing, could put no weight to the pull; yet the wrenches it gave to free itself drew the nose and upper lip out like tough rubber and seemed to stretch Jock's neck visibly.  I had to come round within a few feet of them to avoid risk of hitting Jock, and it seemed impossible for bone and muscle to stand the two or three terrible wrenches that I saw.  The shot was the end; and as the splendid head dropped slowly over, Jock let go his hold. He had not uttered a sound except the grunts that were knocked out of him.

Friday, April 13, 2012

jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 11 )( Page 2 ) The Koodoo Bull

There had been no time to aim, and the shot--a real snap shot--was not at all a bad one.  It was after that that the natural effect of such a meeting and such a chance began to tell.  Thinking it all out beforehand does not help much, for things never happen as they are expected to; and even months of practice among the smaller kinds will not ensure a steady nerve when you just come face to face with big game--there seems to be too much at stake. I fired again as the koodoo recovered himself, but he was then seventy or eighty yards away and partly hidden at times by trees and scrub.  He struck up the slope, following the line of the troop through the scattered thorns, and there, running hard and dropping quickly to my knee for steadier aim, I fired again and again--but each time a longer shot and more obscured by the intervening bush; and no tell-tale thud came back to cheer me on. Forgetting the last night's experience, forgetting everything except how we had twice chased and twice lost them, seeing only another and the grandest prize slipping away, I sent Jock on and followed as fast as I could.  Once more the koodoo came in sight--just a chance at four hundred yards as he reached an open space on rising ground.  Jock was already closing up, but still unseen, and the noble old fellow turned full broadside to me as he stopped to look back.  Once more I knelt, gripping hard and holding my breath to snatch a moment's steadiness, and fired; but I missed again, and as the bullet struck under him he plunged forward and disappeared over the rise at the moment that Jock, dashing out from the scrub, reached his heels. The old Martini carbine had one bad fault; even I could not deny that; years of rough and careless treatment in all sorts of weather--for it was only a discarded old Mounted Police weapon--had told on it, and both in barrel and breech it was well pitted with rust scars.  One result of this was that it was always jamming, and unless the cartridges were kept well greased the empty shells would stick and the ejector fail to work; and this was almost sure to happen when the carbine became hot from quick firing.  It jammed now, and fearing to lose sight of the chase I dared not stop a second, but ran on, struggling from time to time to wrench the breach open. Reaching the place where they had disappeared, I saw with intense relief and excitement Jock and the koodoo having it out less than a hundred yards away.  The koodoo's leg was broken right up in the ham, and it was a terrible handicap for an animal so big and heavy, but his nimbleness and quickness were astonishing.  Using the sound hind leg as a pivot he swung round, always facing his enemy; Jock was in and out, here, there and everywhere, as a buzzing fly torments one on a hot day; and indeed, to the koodoo just then he was the fly and nothing more; he could only annoy his big enemy, and was playing with his life to do it.  Sometimes he tried to get round; sometimes pretended to charge straight in, stopping himself with all four feet spread--just out of reach; then like a red streak he would fly through the air with a snap for the koodoo's nose.  It was a fight for life and a grand sight; for the koodoo, in spite of his wound, easily held his own.  No doubt he had fought out many a life and death struggle to win and hold his place as lord of the herd and knew every trick of attack and defence.  Maybe too he was blazing with anger and contempt for this persistent little gad-fly that worried him so and kept out of reach.  Sometimes he snorted and feinted to charge; at other times backed slowly, giving way to draw the enemy on; then with a sudden lunge the great horns swished like a scythe with a tremendous reach out, easily covering the spot where Jock had been a fraction of a second before.  There were pauses too in which he watched his tormentor steadily, with occasional impatient shakes of the head, or, raising it to full height, towered up a monument of splendid and contemptuous indifference, looking about with big angry but unfrightened eyes for the herd--his herd--that had deserted him; or with a slight toss of his head he would walk limpingly forward, forcing the ignored Jock before him; then, interrupted and annoyed by a flying snap at his nose, he would spring forward and strike with the sharp cloven fore foot--zip-zip-zip--at Jock as he landed.  Any one of the vicious flashing stabs would have pinned him to the earth and finished him; but Jock was never there.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 11 )( Page 1 ) The Koodoo Bull

Jock had learned one very clever trick in pulling down wounded animals. It often happens when you income unexpectedly upon game that they are off before you see them, and the only chance you have of getting anything is with a running shot.  If they go straight from you the shot is not a very difficult one, although you see nothing but the lifting and falling hind quarters as they canter away; and a common result of such a shot is the breaking of one of the hind legs between the hip and the hock.  Jock made his discovery while following a rietbuck which I had wounded in this way.  He had made several tries at its nose and throat, but the buck was going too strongly and was out of reach; moreover it would not stop or turn when he headed it, but charged straight on, bounding over him.  In trying once more for the throat he cannoned against the buck's shoulder and was sent rolling yards away. This seemed to madden him: racing up behind he flew at the dangling leg, caught it at the shin, and thrusting his feet well out, simply dragged until the buck slowed down, and then began furiously tugging sideways. The crossing of the legs brought the wounded animal down immediately and Jock had it by the throat before it could rise again. Every one who is good at anything has some favourite method or device of his own: that was Jock's.  It may have come to him, as it comes to many, by accident; but having once got it, he perfected it and used it whenever it was possible.  Only once he made a mistake; and he paid for it--very nearly with his life. He had already used this device successfully several times, but so far only with the smaller buck.  This day he did what I should have thought to be impossible for a dog of three or four times his size.  I left the scene of torn carcase and crunched bones, consumed by regrets and disappointment; each fresh detail only added to my feeling of disgust, but Jock did not seem to mind; he jumped out briskly as soon as I started walking in earnest, as though he recognised that we were making a fresh start, and he began to look forward immediately. The little bare flat where the koodoo had fallen for the last time was at the head of one of those depressions which collect the waters of the summer floods and, changing gradually into shallow valleys, are eventually scoured out and become the dongas--dry in winter but full charged with muddy flood in summer--which drain the Bushveld to its rivers.  Here and there where an impermeable rock formation crosses these channels there are deep pools which, except in years of drought, last all through the winter; and these are the drinking-places of the game.  I followed this one down for a couple of miles without any definite purpose until the sight of some greener and denser wild figs suggested that there might be water, and perhaps a rietbuck or a duiker near by.  As we reached the trees Jock showed unmistakable signs of interest in something, and with the utmost caution I moved from tree to tree in the shady grove towards where it seemed the water-hole might be. There were bushy wild plums flanking the grove, and beyond them the ordinary scattered  thorns.  As I reached this point, and stopped to look out between the bushes on to the more open ground, a koodoo cow walked quietly up the slope from the water, but before there was time to raise the rifle her easy stride had carried her behind a small mimosa tree.  I took one quick step out to follow her up and found myself face to face at less than a dozen yards with a grand koodoo bull.  It is impossible to convey in words any real idea of the scene and how things happened. Of course, it was only for a fraction of a second that we looked straight into each other's eyes; then, as if by magic, he was round and going from me with the overwhelming rush of speed and strength and weight combined.  Yet it is the first sight that remains with me: the proud head, the huge spiral horns, and the wide soft staring eyes-- before the wildness of panic had stricken them.  The picture seems photographed on eye and brain, never to be forgotten.  A whirlwind of dust and leaves marked his course, and through it I fired, unsteadied by excitement and hardly able to see.  Then the right hind leg swung out, and the great creature sank for a moment, almost to the ground; and the sense of triumph, the longed for and unexpected success, `went to my head' like a rush of blood.

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 10 )( Page 3 ) Jocks Night Out

On a little open flat of hard-baked sand lay the stripped frame of the koodoo: the head and leg-bones were missing; meat-stripped fragments were scattered all about; fifty yards away among some bushes Jock found the head; and still further afield were remains of skin and thigh-bones crushed almost beyond recognition. No aasvogel had done this: it was hyenas' work.  The high-shouldered slinking brute, with jaws like a stone-crusher, alone cracks bones like those and bigger ones which even the lion cannot tackle.  I walked back a little way and found the scene of the last stand, all harrowed bare; but there was no spoor of koodoo or of Jock to be seen there—only prints innumerable of wild dogs, hyenas and jackals, and some traces of where the carcase, no doubt already half-eaten, had been dragged by them in the effort to tear it asunder. Jock had several times shown that he strongly objected to any interference with his quarry; other dogs, kaffirs, and even white men, had suffered or been badly scared for rashly laying hands on what he had pulled down.  Without any doubt he had expected to find the koodoo there and had dealt with the aasvogels as trespassers; otherwise he would not have tackled them without word from me.  It was also sure that until past midnight he had been there with the koodoo, watching or fighting. Then when had the hyenas and wild dogs come?  That was the question I would have given much to have had answered.  But only Jock knew that! I looked at him.  The mane on his neck and shoulders which had risen at the sight of the vultures was not flat yet; he was sniffing about slowly and carefully on the spoor of the hyenas and wild dogs; and he looked `fight' all over.  But what it all meant was beyond me; I could only guess--just as you will--what had happened out in the silent ghostly bush that night.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jock Of The Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 10 )( Page 2 ) Jocks Night Out

It is not necessary to go over it all again: it was much the same as the impala chase.  I came back tired, disappointed and beaten, and without Jock.  It was only after darkness set in that things began to look serious.  When it came to midnight, with the camp wrapped in silence and in sleep, and there was still no sign of Jock, things looked very black indeed. I heard his panting breath before it was possible to see anything.  It was past one o'clock when he returned. As we had missed the night trek to wait for Jock I decided to stay on where we were until the next evening and to have another try for the wounded koodoo, with the chance of coming across the troop again. By daybreak Jock did not seem much the worse for his night's adventures--whatever they were.  There were no marks of blood on him this time; there were some scratches which might have been caused by thorns during the chase, and odd-looking grazes on both hind quarters near the hip-bones, as though he had been roughly gravelled there.  He seemed a little stiff, and flinched when I pressed his sides and muscles, but he was as game as ever when he saw the rifle taken down. The koodoo had been shot through the body, and even without being run to death by Jock must have died in the night, or have lain down and become too cold and stiff to move.  If not discovered by wild animals there was a good chance of finding it untouched in the early morning; but after sunrise every minute's delay meant fresh risk from the aasvogels.  There is very little which, if left uncovered, will escape their eyes.  You may leave your buck for help to bring the meat in, certain from the most careful scrutiny that there is not one of these creatures in sight, and return in half an hour to find nothing but a few bones, the horns and hoofs, a rag of skin, and a group of disgusting gorged vultures squatting on a patch of ground all smeared, torn and feather-strewn from their voracious struggles. In the winter sky unrelieved by the least fleck of cloud--a dome of spotless polished steel--nothing, you would think, can move unseen.  Yet they are there.  In the early morning, from their white-splashed eeries on some distant mountain they slide off like a launching ship into their sea of blue, and, striking the currents of the upper air, sweep round and upwards in immense circles, their huge motionless wings carrying them higher and higher until they are lost to human sight.  Lie on your back in some dense shade where no side-lights strike in, but where an opening above forms a sort of natural telescope to the sky, and you may see tiny specks where nothing could be seen before.  Take your field-glasses: the specks are vultures circling up on high!  Look again, and far, far above you will see still other specks; and for aught you know, there may be others still beyond.  How high are they?  And what can they see from there?  Who knows?  But this is sure, that within a few minutes scores will come swooping down in great spiral rushes where not one was visible before.  My own belief is that they watch each other, tier above tier away into the limitless heavens—watching jealously, as hungry dogs do, for the least suspicious sign--to swoop down and share the spoil. In the dewy cool of the morning we soon reached the place where Jock had left me behind the evening before; and from that on he led the way.  It was much slower work then; as far as I was concerned, there was nothing to guide me, and it was impossible to know what he was after.  Did he understand that it was not fresh game but the wounded koodoo that I wanted?  And, if so, was he following the scent of the old chase or merely what he might remember of the way he had gone?  It seemed impossible that scent could lie in that dry country for twelve hours; yet it was clearly nose more than eyes that guided him.  He went ahead soberly and steadily, and once when he stopped completely, to sniff at a particular tuft of grass, I found out what was helping him.  The grass was well streaked with blood: quite dry, it is true; still it was blood. A mile or so on we checked again where the grass was trampled and the ground scored with spoor.  The heavy spoor was all in a ring four or five yards in diameter; outside this the grass was also flattened, and there I found a dog's footprints.  But it had no further interest for Jock; while I was examining it he picked up the trail and trotted on. We came upon four or five other rings where they had fought.  The last of these was curiously divided by a fallen tree, and it puzzled me to guess how they could have made a circle with a good-sized trunk some two feet high intersecting it.  I examined the dead tree and found a big smear of blood and a lot of coarse greyish hair on it.  Evidently the koodoo had backed against it whilst facing Jock and had fallen over it, renewing the fight on the other side.  There were also some golden hairs sticking on the stumpy end of a broken branch, which may have had something to do with Jock's scraped sides.  Then for a matter of a hundred yards or more it looked as if they had fought and tumbled all the way.  Jock was some distance ahead of me, trotting along quietly, when I saw him look up, give that rare growling bark of his--one of suppressed but real fury--lower his head, and charge.  Then came heavy flapping and scrambling and the wind of huge wings, as twenty or thirty great lumbering aasvogels flopped along the ground with Jock dashing furiously about among them--taking flying leaps at them as they rose, and his jaws snapping like rat-traps as he missed them.

Jock Of The Bushveld byu Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 10 )( Page 1 ) Jocks Night Out

Jock was lost twice: that is to say, he was lost to me, and, as I thought, for ever.  It came about both times through his following up wounded animals and leaving me behind, and happened in the days when our hunting was all done on foot; when I could afford a horse and could keep pace with him that difficulty did not trouble us.  The experience with the impala had made me very careful not to let him go unless I felt sure that the game was hard hit and that he would be able to pull it down or bay it.  But it is not always easy to judge that.  A broken leg shows at once; but a body shot is very difficult to place, and animals shot through the lungs, and even through the lower part of the heart, often go away at a cracking pace and are out of sight in no time, perhaps to keep it up for miles, perhaps to drop dead within a few minutes. After that day with the impala we had many good days together and many hard ones: we had our disappointments, but we had our triumphs; and we were both getting to know our way about by degrees.  Buck of many kinds had fallen to us; but so far as I was concerned there was one disappointment that was not to be forgotten.  The picture of that koodoo bull as he appeared for the last time looking over the ant-heap the day we were lost was always before me.  I could not hear the name or see the spoor of koodoo without a pang of regret and the thought that never again would such a chance occur.  Koodoo, like other kinds of game, were not to be found everywhere; they favoured some localities more than others, and when we passed through their known haunts chances of smaller game were often neglected in the hope of coming across the koodoo. I could not give up whole days to hunting--for we had to keep moving along with the waggons all the time--or it would have been easy enough in many parts to locate the koodoo and make sure of getting a good bag. As it was, on three or four occasions we did come across them, and once I got a running shot, but missed.  This was not needed to keep my interest in them alive, but it made me keener than ever.  Day by day I went out always hoping to get my chance, and when at last the chance did come it was quite in accordance with the experience of many others that it was not in the least expected. The great charm of Bushveld hunting is its variety: you never know what will turn up next--the only certainty being that it will not be what you are expecting. The herd boy came noon to say that there buck feeding among the oxen only a couple of hundred yards away.  He had been quite close to it, he said, and it was very tame.  Game, so readily alarmed by the sight of white men, will often take no notice of natives, allowing them to approach to very close quarters.  They are also easily stalked under cover of cattle or horses, and much more readily approached on horseback than on foot.  The presence of other animals seems to give them confidence or to excite mild curiosity without alarm, and thus distract attention from the man.  In this case the bonny little red-brown fellow was not a bit scared; he maintained his presence of mind admirably; from time to time he turned his head our way and, with his large but shapely and most sensitive ears thrown forward examined us frankly while he moved slightly one way or another so as to keep under cover of the oxen and busily continue his browsing. In and out among some seventy head of cattle we played hide-and-seek for quite a while--I not daring to fire for fear of hitting one of the bullocks--until at last he found himself manoeuvred out of the troop; and then without giving me a chance he was off into the bush in a few frisky skips.  I followed quietly, knowing that as he was on the feed and not scared he would not go far. Moving along silently under good cover I reached a thick scrubby bush and peered over the top of it to search the grass under the surrounding thorn-trees for the little red-brown form.  I was looking about low down in the russety grass--for he was only about twice the size of Jock, and not easy to spot--when a movement on a higher level caught my eye.  It was just the flip of a fly-tickled ear; but it was a movement where all else was still, and instantly the form of a koodoo cow appeared before me as a picture is thrown on a screen by a agic- antern.  There it stood within fifty yards, the soft grey-and-white looking still softer in the shadow of the thorns, but as clear to me--and as still--as a figure carved in stone.  The stem of a mimosa hid the shoulders, but all the rest was plainly visible as it stood there utterly unconscious of danger.  The tree made a dead shot almost impossible, but the risk of trying for another position was too great, and I fired.  The thud of the bullet and the tremendous bound of the koodoo straight up in the air told that the shot had gone home; but these things were for a time forgotten in the surprise that followed.  At the sound of the shot twenty other koodoo jumped into life and sight before me.  The one I had seen and shot was but one of a herd all dozing peacefully in the shade, and strangest of all, it was the one that was farthest from me.  To the right and left of this one, at distances from fifteen to thirty yards from me, the magnificent creatures had been standing, and I had not seen them; it was the flicker of this one's ear alone that had caught my eye. My bewilderment was complete when I saw the big bull of the herd start off twenty yards on my right front pass away like a streak in a few sweep-strides.  It was a matter of seconds and they were all out of sight--all except the wounded one, which had turned off from the others. For all the flurry and confusion I had not lost sight of her, and noting her tucked-up appearance and shortened strides set Jock on her trail, believing that she would be down in a few minutes.

Jock Of Bushveld by Sir Percy Fitzpatrick ( Chapter 9 )( Page 5 ) TheImpala Stampede

After half an hour of this Jim could restrain himself no longer.  He came over to where I lay and with a look of severe disapproval and barely controlled indignation, asked me for a gun, saying that he himself meant to go out and look for Jock.  It would be nearer the mark to say that he demanded a gun.  He was so genuinely anxious and so indignant at what he considered my indifference that it was impossible to be angry; and I let him talk away to me and at me in his exciting bullying way.  He would take no answer and listen to no reason; so finally to keep him quiet I gave him the shot gun, and off he went, muttering his opinions of every one else--a great springy striding picture of fierce resolution. He came back nearly three hours later, silent, morose, hot and dusty. He put the gun down beside me without a word--just a click of disgust; and as he strode across to his waggon, called roughly to one of the drivers for the drinking water.  Lifting the bucket to his mouth he drank like an ox and slammed it down again without a word of thanks; then sat down in the shade of the waggon, filled his pipe, and smoked in silence. The trekking hour came and passed; but we did not move.  The sun went down, and in the quiet of the evening we heard the first jackal's yapping--the first warning of the night.  There were still lions and tigers in those parts, and any number of hyenas and wild dogs, and the darker it grew and the more I thought of it, the more hopeless seemed Jock's chance of getting through a night in the bush trying to work his way back to the waggons. It was almost dark when I was startled by a yell from Jim Makokel', and looking round, saw him bound out into the road shouting, "He has come, he has come!  What did I tell you?"  He ran out to Jock, stooping to pat and talk to him, and then in a lower voice and with growing excitement went on rapidly, "See the blood!  See it!  He has fought: he has killed! Dog of all dogs!  Jock, Jock!" and his savage song of triumph broke off in a burst of rough tenderness, and he called the dog's name five or six times with every note of affection and welcome in his deep voice.  Jock took no notice of Jim's dancing out to meet him, nor of his shouts, endearments and antics; slowing his tired trot down to a walk, he came straight on to me, flickered his ears a bit, wagged his tail cordially, and gave my hand a splashy lick as I patted him.  Then he turned round in the direction he had just come from, looked steadily out, cocked his ears well up, and moved his tail slowly from side to side.  For the next half-hour or so he kept repeating this action every few minutes; but even without that I knew that it had been no wild-goose chase, and that miles away in the bush there was something lying dead which he could show me if I would but follow him back again to see. What had happened in the eight hours since he had dashed off in pursuit can only be guessed.  That he had pulled down the impala and killed it seemed certain--and what a chase and what a fight it must have been to take all that time!  The buck could not have been so badly wounded in the body as to be disabled or it would have died in far less time than that: then, what a fight it must have been to kill an animal six or eight times his own weight and armed with such horns and hoofs!  But was it only the impala? or had the hyenas and wild dogs followed up the trail, as they so often do, and did Jock have to fight his way through them too? He was hollow-flanked and empty, parched with thirst, and so blown that his breath still caught in suffocating chokes.  He was covered with blood and sand; his beautiful golden coat was dark and stained; his white front had disappeared; and there on his chest and throat, on his jaws and ears, down his front legs even to the toes, the blood was caked on him--mostly black and dried but some still red and sticky.  He was a little lame in one fore leg, but there was no cut or swelling to show the cause.  There was only one mark to be seen: over his right eye there was a bluish line where the hair had been shaved off clean, leaving the skin smooth and unbroken.  What did it?  Was it horn, hoof, tooth, or-- what?  Only Jock knew. Hovering round and over me, pacing backwards and forwards between the waggons like a caged animal, Jim, growing more and more excited, filled the air with his talk his shouts and savage song.  Wanting to help, but always in the way, ordering and thrusting the other boys here and there, he worked himself up into a wild frenzy: the Zulu fighting blood on fire and he `saw red' everywhere. I called for water.  "Water!" roared Jim, "bring water"; and glaring round he made a spring--stick in hand--at the nearest kaffir.  The boy fled in terror, with Jim after him for a few paces, and brought a bucket of water.  Jim snatched it from him and with a resounding thump on the ribs sent the unlucky kaffir sprawling on the ground.  Jock took the water in great gulpy bites broken by pauses to get his breath again; and Jim paced up and down--talking, talking, talking!  Talking to me, to the others, to the kaffirs, to Jock, to the world at large, to the heavens, and to the dead.  His eyes glared like a wild beast's and gradually little seams of froth gathered in the corners of his mouth as he poured out his cataract of words, telling of all Jock had done and might have done and would yet do; comparing him with the fighting heroes of his own race, and andering off into vivid recitals of single episodes and great battles; seizing his sticks, shouting his war cries, and going through all the mimicry of fight with the wild frenzy of one possessed.  Time after time I called him and tried to quiet him; but he was beyond control. Once before he had broken out like this.  I had asked him something about the Zulu war; and that had started a flood of memories and excitement.  In the midst of some description I asked why they killed the children; and he turned his glaring eyes on me a and said, "Inkos, you are my Inkos; but you are white.  If we fight to-morrow, I will kill you.  You are good to me, you have saved me; but if our own king says `Kill!' we kill!  We see red; we kill all that lives.  I must kill you, your wife, your mother, your children, your horses, your oxen, your dog, the fowls that run with the waggons--all that lives I kill.  The blood must run."  And I believed him; for that was the Zulu fighting spirit. So this time I knew it was useless to order or to talk: he was beyond control, and the fit must run its course. The night closed in and there was quiet once more.  The flames of the camp fires had died down; the big thorn logs had burnt into glowing coals like the pink crisp hearts of giant water-melons; Jock lay sleeping, tired out, but even in his sleep came little spells of panting now and then, like the after-sobs of a child that has cried itself to sleep; we lay rolled in our blankets, and no sound came from where the kaffirs slept.  But Jim--only Jim--sat on his rough three-legged stool, elbows on knees and hands clasped together, staring intently into the coals.  The fit worked slowly off, and his excitement died gradually away; now and then there was a fresh burst, but always milder and at longer intervals, as you may see it in a dying fire or at the end of a great storm; slowly but surely he subsided until at last there were only occasional mutterings of "Ow, Jock!" followed by the Zulu click, the expressive shake of the head, and that appreciative half grunt, half chuckle, by which they pay tribute to what seems truly wonderful.  He wanted no sleep that night: he sat on, waiting for the morning trek, staring into the red coals, and thinking of the bygone glories of his race in the days of the mighty Chaka. That was Jim, when the fit was on him--transported by some trifling and unforeseen incident from the hum-drum of the road to the life he once had lived with splendid recklessness.