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"No. But do you think maybe before the day gets too warm we might just go for a little hunt up to the gerenuk country? I think I am beginning to understand it better now."
But the gerenuk country was as difficult as ever. Miss Mary had grown no taller and the bush was as tall as ever. She hunted hard and Ngui and I stayed as far away as we could, so far that I was nervous. But I had seen no rhino in there the day before and we saw no fresh spoor. I felt badly about Mary having the feeling she was never allowed to hunt alone and I stretched the safety limit as far as I dared. Then I remembered my obligation to Pop and moved up too close to be popular. She did not seem to mind and we moved close enough so that there was no chance-taking. Then we saw a rhino track that was fresh and I sent Ngui back to the car and, with the big gun, moved up close to Mary. It was not a really dangerous country the way Magadi was, but it was spooky enough to make me sweat. Charo and I heard the purr that is like a fluttering tongue or the sound of a quail rising. I looked back and could see Ngui standing on the top of the hunting car and pointing off to our left. Then Charo touched Miss Mary's arm and we all moved off across the wind to our right and in a small clear place we waited until the car came up.
"Dume!" Ngui said. "A big bull. But the horn is short and wide."
"Can I see him?" Mary asked.
Charo and Ngui helped her up on the roof and she looked at the rhino, huge and gray in the brush, almost white from the dried mud of the wallow. His head was up and his ears swung forward as his nose searched the wind.
"Do you want to take his picture?"
"No. He's too far away to mean anything."
"We can't bring him closer. The hunting car couldn't get away from him in this. I'll find you another one where he can chase us in the open."
"Every time there's something to spoil the gerenuk hunting. We're close to the best place now."
I had been scared, as always, being responsible for Mary where there was a rhino in thick cover. I knew rhino were stupid and they charged the scent and were easy to outmaneuver. They were half blind; but some saw better than others and when they came through the bush like a crazy locomotive they were always impressive. They were easy to kill, but I had shot one through the heart with the .577 and had him go a hundred yards at top speed before he went into the swirl of his death. If I was alone I was not frightened of them because the .577 would always turn them even if the solid did not hit bone and break them down. But in thick country you never knew where the other one was and it was the other one with these animals that could kill you. So I was looking at the incredibly armored, stupid, bad-tempered and unlovely animal who yet looked oddly beautiful in his coat of white dried mud and his belligerence that stood like a baffled piece of armor. They have to live all their life with the turret buttoned down, I thought.