The Bafut Beagles
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In The Bafut Beagles Gerald Durrell describes a collecting expedition to the Cameroons, where with the assistance of a pack of African enthusiasts and mongrel dogs he captured almost everything from flying mice to booming squirrels. The unconscious humour of a supercilious toad or a hypocritical chimpanzee is only surpassed by the electric charm of the convivial Fon of Bafut himself.
Furiously. Slowly and almost imperceptibly the road started to climb upwards, looping its way in languid curves round the forested hills. In the back of the lorry the boys lifted up their voices in song: Home again, home again, When shall I see ma home? When shall I see ma mammy? I’ll never forget ma home … The driver hummed the refrain softly to himself, glancing at me to see if I would object. To his surprise I joined in, and so while the lorry rolled onwards trailing a swirling tail of red.
Surprised, for it was after three. Yes, sah. You want I tell um to go? They done bring beef? I asked hopefully, with visions of some rare specimen. No, sah. They want palaver with Masa. all right. Bring urn, I said, sinking into a chair. Presently Ben ushered in five embarrassed young hunters, all clutching spears. They bowed and said good evening politely. Apparently they had been at the feast that night, and had heard the Fon’s speech; as they lived at a village some distance away, they.
Safe distance, chattering eagerly to each other. why you no die? asked the Fon presently. “9 : Die? I asked, frowning. why I go die? na bad beef dis ting, said the Fon excitedly. “E de bite too much. If black man go hold him e go die one time. Why you never die, my friend? Oh, I get special medicine for dis ting, I said airily. A chorus of cAhhs! came from my audience. na European medicine dis? asked the Fon. yes. You like I go show you? yes, yes, na foine! he said eagerly. They sat.
Fifteen times that day, and towards evening we were sore and smarting from a thousand cuts and bruises, and our throats were rough from breathing in lungfuls of smoke. We were all in the deepest depths of depression, for not only had we caught no IdiUrus, but we had caught nothing else of any value either. By the time we reached the last tree that we would have time to smoke before it got dark I was so tired that I really felt I did not care whether there were any Idiurus in its trunk or not. I.
Cabin each night, so that he would not catch a chill. The day before we docked he was in fine fettle, and I became almost convinced that I would land him. That night, quite suddenly and for no apparent reason, he died. So, after travelling four thousand miles, the last Idiurus died twenty-four hours out of Liverpool. I was bitterly disappointed, and black depression settled on me. Even the sight of the collection being taken ashore did not fill me with the usual mixture of relief and pride. The.