I RECEIVE A LETTER 251
moment during the day, rushed to capture it, and handed us a second letter. It ran as follows :
' The night has been fine—the weather beautiful —excursion in cajack on lake—capture of some black swans—several new animals—sudden flight of an aquatic beast, entirely unknown to us— to-morrow at Prospect Hill.
' Be of good cheer. ' Your sons, ' Fritz, Jack, and Francis.'
' It is like a telegram,' said I, laughing. ' Our huntsmen would rather fire a gun than write a sentence ; nevertheless, I am glad to know they are safe.'
However, our rejoicing did not last long, for the very next day another pigeon arrived, with a letter telling us that on the boys' arrival at Prospect Hill they had found that the palisade, which we had erected at the end of the defile to keep out intruders from the desert, had been broken down, the sugar-canes trampled and crushed, and that there were large hoof-marks everywhere, like those made by the feet of elephants. I resolved to go myself instantly to join the lads, and, having saddled the young