African Camp Fires eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 229 pages of information about African Camp Fires.
all, white and black, set to work to make camp.  Then we built smudges and fired guns in the faint hope of guiding in the stragglers.  As a matter of fact we had not the slightest faith in these expedients.  Unless the men were hopelessly lost they should be able to follow our trail.  They might be almost anywhere out in that awful scrub.  The only course open to them would be to climb thorn trees for the night.  Next day we would organize a formal search for them.

In the meantime, almost dead from exhaustion, we sprawled about everywhere.  The men, too dispirited even to start their own camp-fires, sat around resting as do boxers between rounds.  Then to us came Memba Sasa, who had already that day made a double journey, and who should have been the most tired of all.

“Bwana,” said he, “if you will lend me Winchi,[13] and a lantern, I will bring in the men.”

We lent him his requirements, and he departed.  Hours later he returned, carefully leaned “Winchi” in the corner of the tent, deposited the lantern, and stood erect at attention.

“Well, Memba Sasa,” I inquired.

“The men are here.”

“They were far?”

“Very far.”

“Verna, Memba Sasa, assanti sana."[14]

That was his sole—­and sufficient—­reward.

FOOTNOTES: 

[12] I have just heard that this old man survived, and has been singing our praises in Nairobi as the saviour of his life.

[13] His name for the.405 Winchester.

[14] “Very good, Memba Sasa, thanks very much.”

XXVIII.

DOWN THE RIVER.

Relieved now of all anxiety as to water, we had merely to make our way downstream.  First, however, there remained the interesting task of determining its source.

Accordingly next day we and our gunbearers left the boys to a well-earned rest, and set out upstream.  At first we followed the edge of the river jungle, tramping over hard hot earth, winding in and out of growths of thorn scrub and brilliant aloes.  We saw a herd of impallas gliding like phantoms; and as we stood in need of meat, I shot at one of them but missed.  The air was very hot and moist.  At five o’clock in the morning the thermometer had stood at 78 degrees; and by noon it had mounted to 106 degrees.  In addition the atmosphere was filled with the humidity that later in the day was to break in extraordinary deluges.  We moved slowly, but even then our garments were literally dripping wet.

At the end of three miles the stream bed widened.  We came upon beautiful, spacious, open lawns of from eighty to one hundred acres apiece, separated from each other by narrow strips of tall forest trees.  The grass was high, and waved in the breeze like planted grain; the boundary trees resembled artificial wind-breaks of eucalyptus or Normandy poplar.  One might expect a white ranch house beyond some low clump of trees, and chicken runs, and corrals.

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African Camp Fires from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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