African Camp Fires eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about African Camp Fires.

Then the basis of the trouble came out.  One Davis, M.P. from England, had also dealt with our friend.  Davis, as we reconstructed him, was of the blunt type, with probably very little feeling of democracy for those in subordinate positions, and with, most certainly, a good deal of insular and racial prejudice.  Evidently a rather vague bargain had been struck, and the motor had set forth.  Then ensued financial wranglings and disputes as to terms.  It ended by useless hauteur on Davis’s part, and inexcusable but effective action by the German.  For Davis found himself dumped down on the Serengetti desert and left there.

We heard all this in excruciatingly funny Weberandfieldese, many times repeated.  The German literally beat his breast and cried aloud against Davis.  We unblushingly sacrificed a probably perfectly worthy Davis to present need, and cried out against him too.

“Am I like one dog?” demanded the German fervently.

“Certainly not,” we cried with equal fervour.  We both like dogs.

Then followed wearisomely reiterated assurances that we, at least, knew how a gentleman should be treated, and more boasting of proud connections in the past.  But the end of it was a bargain of reasonable dimensions for ourselves, our personal boys, and our loads.  Under plea of starting our safari boys off we left him, and crept, with shattered nerves, around the corner of the dak-bungalow.  There we lurked, busy at pretended affairs, until our friend swaggered away to the Hindu quarters, where, it seems, he had his residence.

About ten o’clock a small safari marched in afoot.  It had travelled all of two nights across the Thirst, and was glad to get there.  The single white man in charge had been three years alone among the natives near Kilimanjaro, and he was now out for a six months’ vacation at home.  Two natives in the uniform of Sudanese troops hovered near him very sorrowful.  He splashed into the water of the dak-bungalow, and then introduced himself.  We sat in teakwood easy-chairs and talked all day.  He was a most interesting, likeable, and cordial man, at any stage of the game.  The game, by means of French vermouth—­of all drinks!—­progressed steadily.  We could hardly blame him for celebrating.  By the afternoon he wanted to give things away.  So insistent was he that F. finally accepted an ebony walking-stick, and I an ebony knife inset with ivory.  If we had been the least bit unscrupulous, I am afraid the relatives at home would have missed their African souvenirs.  He went out via freight car, all by himself, seated regally in a steamer chair between two wide-open side doors, one native squatted on either side to see that he did not lurch out into the landscape.

FOOTNOTES: 

[11] Fifty pounds.

XXVI.

THE FRINGE-EARED ORYX.

At ten o’clock the following morning we started.  On the high front seat, under an awning, sat the German, F., and I. The body of the truck was filled with safari loads, Memba Sasa, Simba Mohammed, and F.’s boy, whose name I have forgotten.  The arrangement on the front seat was due to a strike on the part of F.

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African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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