A SAND-STORM PREDICTED.—THE WIND FROM THE NORTH-EAST.—THE STORM.—AFTER OSTRICHES.—TWO
ARE KILLED.—RETURN TO CAMP.—ROAST OSTRICH FOR SUPPER.—RETURN TO THE SETTLEMENT.
 ON my return to the camp the men said we were going to have a storm from the desert. They could tell it was
coming, and they hoped it would not last long, for these storms are very unpleasant. They did not mean a storm
of rain, but that a strong wind would blow from the east or northeast, and passing over the Great Desert,
would raise clouds and columns of sand, so that the atmosphere would be thick with it, as if a fog had spread
itself over the country.
I may say I was glad to hear this. Like you, my dear young folks, I had heard before of these sand-storms, and
that the sand would even be carried far away out to sea and fall on the decks of ships. I wanted to see one of
these awful storms, which are said to be so violent in the Great Desert that men, and sometimes caravans, are
buried alive beneath the immense masses of sand.
The men were not mistaken. The wind, which had been blowing lightly in an east-northeast direction, began to
increase gradually, till at last it blew a perfect gale. The sand began to fly, and the storm increased still
more. The air soon became murky with sand, which flew to
 ward the sea like a thick fog. It was a grand and splendid sight. The light of the day had become quite dim,
because the sun's rays could hardly pierce the clouds of sand. It continued blowing for several hours. The
wind was hot; my lips became parched and my eyes sore, as, in spite of my thick veil, the sand penetrated
every where. Now that I had seen a genuine sand-storm, I hoped that the wind would moderate. Little hillocks
and mounds were formed here and there, and our wells were filled up with the drifting sand.
SAND-STORM IN THE DESERT.
The sand got into my clothes through every opening in them. It filled my hair, my nose, my ears, and even my
mouth. It covered every thing in our camp, and completely spoiled our food. But we had to eat it as it was, as
there was no choice.
 Toward evening the wind gradually calmed down, and by the time the sun had set below the horizon nature became
quiet again. The sand-storm of the desert was over, and I was glad I had seen it.
The next morning I again prepared myself to hunt the ostrich. Some of them had been seen the day before by
some of the men who had wandered off a little way into the desert. It was but seldom that ostriches were seen
where we were, and I wished to take advantage of the opportunity, the more so that I should have to turn back
very soon and leave the Senegal region for the Gulf of Guinea.
But first we moved our camp a few miles northward from where we were, because better wells of water could be
got in that locality. As soon as our tents were pitched again, I started once more on an ostrich hunt, taking
two guides with me.
Our course lay through the desert near the sea-shore. It was exceedingly tiresome walking, for at every step
we made our feet would go deep into the sand, and the heat was intense. We had to take every advantage of the
ground in order to hide ourselves from sight, for the ostriches, as you know, were very shy, and, though I had
been more than three hours on the way, and was assured by my two guides that I should see some, I was yet to
discover the first one. I did not expect to see their tracks, as the storm of the day before had obliterated
every trace of them.
Yet I had good reason to look for fine sport, for this was the time—just at the close of May, and before
the setting in of the rainy season—when the ostriches are accustomed to visit the sea-shore in great
 natives say they wade into the sea during the heat of the day, and splash round in the water at a great rate.
This, as you may suppose, is the best time of the year to shoot them.
All at once, as I reached the top of a sand-down or hill, I looked carefully over the crest to see if I could
discern any signs of game, and, to my great delight, I saw several ostriches near the sea-shore, and not far
from where I was posted. I instantly stopped, and stood still for an instant to observe them. I had never seen
them in their wild state till the day previous, and was very much interested in watching their movements as
they were strutting about on the shore.
After satisfying my curiosity, I crept toward them with all the caution I could use. They were unaware of my
presence, and seemed to be perfectly unconcerned about every thing around them; but, knowing how keen their
scent was, I advanced cautiously and slowly, reserving my fire until I came within very short range. If you
had been with me you would have become, I am sure, quite as much excited as I was, and you would have enjoyed
At last I came to a gap between two sand-hills, which put me in great anxiety, as there was danger of my being
discovered by the ostriches in crossing, and if I should be, good-by to my hopes! The gap was about forty
yards wide, and I must cross it in the quickest and most sly manner. So, protected behind a little hillock of
sand, I watched carefully for a chance to scud across. My eyes were riveted on the ostriches, and I waited for
a time till they should all look toward the sea or go into the surf, so that I could shift my position without
 and gain a hillock that stood within easy range of my beautiful game. At last a good chance came; they all
clustered together and turned their backs toward me, looking in the opposite direction. I seized the
opportunity, and crossed over the open space in a jiffy, never letting my eyes lose sight of the ostriches, so
that if they had suddenly looked back I should have thrown myself flat in the sand and lain as still as a log
or a stone. Using all this caution, I crossed in safety, and, on reaching the other shelter, drew a long
breath of relief. I was within range of the ostriches at last, and sure of my game.
I rested several seconds in order to get breath to calm my nerves, so that I might take good aim and make a
dead shot. Then I slowly raised my gun, took a steady
 aim at the male, who led the flock, and pulled the trigger. Bang! down came the male ostrich. Bang again! and
down came another. The three others that remained alive fled with very great swiftness. This was great sport.
I had been entirely successful. I gave a wild shout of joy, and my two friends, who had remained behind, and
were watching my movements, ran toward me as fast as they could. I sent one of them back to the camp to fetch
the other men to assist in carrying the game. The beautiful feathers were pulled out, the ostriches were cut
into small pieces, and then, singing songs of triumph, we returned to camp. That evening we had a splendid
supper of roast ostrich.
The next day I thought it was time to go back, for the vessel was soon to be ready to sail, and I must
reluctantly say good-by to the Great Desert. So we raised our camp, loaded our donkeys, and departed on our
homeward way. It was with a feeling of sorrow that I said good-by to these desert and sandy shores, where I
had really enjoyed myself, and learned something that I did not know before.
A few days after my return to the settlement of St. Louis we weighed anchor and sailed for the Gulf of Guinea.