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wholesale slaughters were not always useless. They furnished on many occasions an unwonted supply of food to savage tribes, seldom able to obtain for themselves the luxury of a flesh diet. He frequently makes mention, as in the following note, of large bodies of hungry people, following his caravan to feed on the prey, which fell in the hunter's track; and it will be seen, that the consciousness of thus doing good to these wretched barbarians, helped, with the pleasant reflection that he was making money for himself, to give zest to sport, which might, when otherwise viewed, have appeared a wanton waste of life :
It was ever to me a source of great pleasure to reflect that, while en. riching myself in following my favourite pursuit of elephant-hunting, I was feeding and making happy the starving families of bundreds of the Bechuana and Bakalahari tribes, who invariably followed my waggons, and assisted me in my hunting, in numbers varying from fifty to two hundred at a time. These men were often accompanied by their wives and families; and, when an elephant, hippopotamus, or other large animal was slain, all hands repaired to the spot, when every inch of the animal was reduced to biltongue, viz, cut into long narrow strips, and hung in festoons upon poles, and dried in the sun : even the entrails were not left for the vultures and byænas, and the very bones were chopped to pieces with their hatchets to obtain the marrow, with which they enriched their soup.
We can thus more readily understand how Nimrod, the mighty hunter, became a king. He, who can give a luxury to the pampered, and food to the hungry, when they are too ignorant, too weak, or too indolent, to obtain it for themselves, will ever have bis claims to allegiance readily allowed. The wild races of Africa regarded Mr. Cumming as possessing, and able to communicate, a supernatural skill and success in the capture and slaughter of game-a belief, which, as we have seen, Mr. Cumming was not ashamed to practice upon for his own profit. We can hardly doubt that, had he claimed from them royal or even divine honours, his claim would have been readily allowed. Modest and selfdenying, as he was in this particular, who shall say what place may be held, in the traditions of those tribes, by the strong white chief of unerring aim, who passed through the land, leaving behind him a fat feast for the hungry inhabitants, wherever he moved ?
Mr. Cumming congratulates himself on his thus feeding and making happy these starving people: but it may be questioned whether the good, which he did in this way, was not more than counterbalanced by the evil, which the practices, in which he indulged from thoughtlessness or the love of gain, were calculated to effect. He supplied a few of the savages with an occasional and precarious supply of food for the body; but then, with his gun medicines, his incantations, and his pretensions to supernatural power, he, doubtless, greatly hindered the work of those, who laboured to supply them with a lasting store of intellectual
and spiritual sustenance. He acknowledges, and not without good reason, the help and hospitality so freely afforded him by the Missionaries, Mr. Moffat and Dr. Livingstone ; but it was an unworthy return for these good offices thus to throw discredit on the teaching and example of those good men. It is, however, quite refreshing, after toiling through the bloodstained records of his achievements against the savages, man and beast, to come upon a description like the following-an oasis in the desert indeed :
On the following day we reached Kuruman, or New Litakoo, a lovely green spot in the wilderness strongly contrasting with the sterile and in. hospitable regions, by which it is surrounded. I was here kindly welcomed and bospitably entertained by Mr. Moffat and Mr. Hamilton, both missionaries of the London Society, and also by Mr. Hume, an old trader, long resident át Kuruman. The gardens at Kuruman are extensive and extremely fertile. Besides corn and vegetables, they contained a great variety of fruits; amongst which were vines, peach-trees, nectarines, apple, orange, and lemon trees, all of which in their seasons bear a profusion of the most delicious fruit. These gardens are irrigated with the most liberal supply of water from a powerful fountain, which gushes forth, at once forming a little river, from a subterraneous cave, which has several low narrow mouths, but within is lofty and extensive. This cave is stated by the natives to extend to a very great distance under ground. The natives about Kuruman and the surrounding districts generally embrace the Christian religion. Mr. Moffat kindly showed me through his printing establishment, church, and school. rooms, which were lofty and well built, and altogether on a scale, which would not have disgraced one of the towns of the more enlightened colony, It was Mr. Moffat, who reduced the Bechuana language to writing and printing ; since which he has printed thousands of Sichuana New Testaments, as also tracts and hymns, which were now eagerly purchased by the converted natives. Mr. Moffat is a person admirably calculated to excel in his important calling. Together with a noble and athletic frame, he possesses a face, on which forbearance and Christian charity are very plainly written ; and his mental and bodily attainments are great. Minister, gardener, blacksmith, gunsmith, mason, carpenter, glazier-every hour of the day finds this worthy pastor engaged in some useful employment-setting, by his own exemplary piety and industrious habits, a good example to others to go and do likewise.
Of course we should not expect Mr. Cumming to follow the example, which he thus commends to others. He has evidently no vocation that way; but we wonder that it never occurred to him, how strongly his employments and proceedings stood in contrast with those of the excellent men, whom, to his credit so far, he so freely and heartily applauded.
Scattered through these two volumes, are various incidental notices (some of the most interesting in the form of foot notes) of the more prominent features of the country in which our hunter roved, and of its products and inhabitants, mineral, vegetable and animal. We would, had we left ourselves space, have collected his accounts of the habits of the elephant, the
hippopotamus, the rhinoceros, the camelopard, the wild dog, the ostrich, &c. We do not know, however, that Mr. Cumming adds much to our stock of information on these subjects. But, passing over his description of the gigantic awana, a remarkable tree adorning the far interior wilds, we must bespeak the reader's admiration for the singularly wonderful and appropriate provision, which the God of Nature has made for the relief of the most urgent and distressing want of man and beast in the arid desert-the want of water. A record of the fact, that Mr. Cumming, when suffering severely from thirst, found relief from eating the bulb, which he dug from the sands of a parched plain, is continued in the following note, descriptive of the "water root," and similar productions of the sandy desert
This interesting root, which has doubtless saved many from dying of thirst, is met with throughout the most parched plains of the Karroo. It is a large oval bulb, varying from six to ten inches in diameter, and is of an extremely juicy consistence, with rather an insipid flavour. It is protected by a thin brown skin, which is easily removed with the back of a knife. It has small insignificant parrow leaves, with slittle black dots on them, which are not easily detected by an inexperienced eye. The ground round it is generally so baked with the sun, that it has to be dug out with a knife. The top of the bulb is discovered about eight or nine inches from the surface of the ground, and the earth all round it must then be carefully removed. A knowledge of this plant is invaluable to bim, whose avocations lead him into these desolate regions. Throughoạt the whole extent of the great Kalahari desert, and the vast tracts of courtry adjoining thereto, an immense variety of bulbs and roots of this juicy description succeed one another monthly—there being hardly a season in the year, at which the poor Bakalahari, provided with a sharp-pointed stick hardened in the fire, cannot obtain a meal, being intimately acquainted with each and all the herbs and roots, which a bountiful band has provided for his sustenance. There are also several succulent plants, having thick juicy leaves, which in like manner answer the purpose of food and drink.
Above all, a species of bitter water-melon is thickly scattered over the entire surface of the known parts of the great Kalahari desert. These often supply the place of food and water to the wild inhabitants of those remote regions ; and it is stated by the Bakalahari, that these melons improve in flavour as they penetrate farther to the west. Most of these roots are much eaten by the gemsboks, which are led by instinct to root them out.* The elephants also, apprised by their acute sense of smell of their position, feed upon them; and whole tracts may be seen ploughed up by thê tusks of these sagacious animals, in quest of them.
The native inhabitants, whom Mr. Cumming encountered, either are naturally a somewhat uninteresting race, or he has managed to make them appear so. Of course the most ad. vanced of them are little removed above the merest savages ; and most of them seem to have been in the most stupidly benighted state. For instance, our author tells us of the chief
• This perhaps explains why they do not taste water.
and elders of a place, with the most appropriate name of Booby, scorched and blown to death,while trying to "medicine" some gunpowder by the agency of fire. The extreme barbarism of some of the tribes may be inferred from the following description of their substitute for an implement, which among half-civilized nations is often brought to a high degree of adaptation and elegance :
The Bechuana pipe is of a very primitive description, differing from any I had ever seen. When they wish to smoke, they moisten a spot of earth, not being particular whence they obtain the water. Into this earth, they insert a green twig, bent into å semicircle, whose bend is below the said earth, and both ends protruding. They then knead the moist earth down with their knuckles on the twig, which they work backwards and forwards until a hole is established, when the twig is withdrawn, and one end of the aperture is enlarged with the fingers, so as to form a bowl to contain the tobacco. The pipe is thus finished and ready for immediate use; when tobacco and fire are introduced, and the smoker drops on his knees, and, resting on the palms of his hands, he brings his lips in contact with the mud at the small end of the hole, and thus inhales the grateful fumes. Large volumes of smoke are emitted through the nostrils, while a copious flow of tears from the eyes of the smoker evinces the pleasure he enjoys. One of these pipes will serve a large party, who replenish the bowl, and relieve one another in succession,
In contrast with this ludicrously rude contrivance, however, we may notice a singularly ingenious one, the remarkable offspring of that fertile mother of invention-necessity, and adopted by the weak and timid people of the desert. It is thus described by Mr. Cumming :
This day I detected a most dangerous trap constructed by the Bakalabari for slaying sea-cows. It consisted of a sharp little assagai, or spike, most thoroughly poisoned, and stuck firmly into the end of a heavy block of thorn-wood, about four feet long and five inches in diameter. This for. midable affair was suspended over the centre of a sea-cow path, at a height of about thirty feet from the ground, by a bark cord, which passed over a high branch of a tree, and thence to a peg, on one side of the path beneath, leading across the path to a peg on the other side, where it was fastened. To the suspending cord were fastened two triggers, so constructed that, when the sea cow struck against the cord, which led across the path, the heavy block above was set at liberty, which instantly dropped with immense force with its poisonous dart, inflicting a sure and mortal wound. The bones and old teeth of sea-cows, which lay rotting along the bank of the river bere, evinced the success of this dangerous invention.
We must now take our leave of Mr. Cumming, as he stands wistfully looking back to the desert, in which he has dwelt for nearly five years, and from which he reluctantly departs, laden and enriched with the spoils of its inhabitants, won at the cost, confessedly of some detriment to his physical constitution, and, as we are unwillingly compelled to believe, at some sacrifice of respectability. Thus he records his resolution to return to England and the reasons for it :
When I entered Colesberg, I had almost made up my mind to make another shooting expedition into the interior ; but a combination of circumstances induced me at length to leave Africa for a season, and re-visit my native land. I felt much sorrow and reluctance in coming to this reso. lution ; for, although I had now spent the greater part of five seasons in hunting in the far interior the various game of Southern Africa, I neverthe. less did not feel in the slightest degree satiated with the sport, which it afforded. On the coutrary, the wild, free, healthy, roaming life of a hunter had grown upon me, and I loved it more and more.
I could not help confessing to myself, however, that in the most laborious yet noble pursuit of elephant-hunting, I was over-taxing my frame, and too rapidly wearing down my constitution. Moreover, the time, required to reach those extremely distant lands frequented by the elephant, was so great, that it consumed nearly one-half of the season in going and returning, and I ever found that my dogs and horses had lost much of their spirit by the time they reached those very remote districts. My nerves and constitution were considerably shaken by the power of a scorching African sun ; and I considered that a voyage to England would greatly recruit my powers, and that, on return. ing, I should renew my pursuits with increased zest.
Our judgment on Mr. Cumming and bis book has been an unfavourable one ; but it is honest and unprejudiced. His volumes have been reviewed by many critics at home : but, that our verdict might be uninfluenced by theirs, we have scrupulously abstained from reading any thing that has been written on the subject. Only now, as we are concluding our notice of it, we are told that none of the English reviewers have touched upon those points in Mr. Cumming's desert career, which have excited our disapprobation. Perhaps it may be thought that we ought to have done as they, and confined our remarks to the literary character of the work, and to the amount of valuable and interesting information to be obtained from it. With views thus directed, we should have found much to approve; and to the merits of the book in this way we willingly give our testimony. But we have felt ourselves compelled to regard the book in that point of view, in which it struck us most forcibly; and we leave our readers to say if we have written of it aught, which is not fully justified by the facts and records on which we have animadverted. We do not fear that many of our Anglo-Indian gentlemen, in or out of the public service, will be inclined to make Mr. Cumming their model, although they may for awhile follow his " spoor ”in the hunting grounds of South Africa. But there may be those among them, who, dazzled by the spurious renown of the lion hunter, might mistake his errors and misdoings for essential parts of the true sportsman's character, and be tempted to imitate, or at all events not be sufficiently careful to avoid them, should they ever find themselves surrounded by the scenes and the circumstances so glowingly described by Mr. Cumming.