Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/128

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from the pure spring, and a piece of dried meat just warmed in the hot ashes, was as much relished by us as a glass of sparkling pale ale and a slice of Yorkshire ham would have been in Europe.

In this way we managed to live on cheerfully and agreeably; yet thoughts of home, with all its comforts, and friends dear to memory, would now and then flash across our minds. Such reflections, however, we tried to avoid, as they only served to sadden us.

On the morning of the 26th of December Galton returned from his excursion to Erongo. He had been suffering from fever, and was right glad to find himself safe back at the encampment. The trip had been rather satisfactory. The chief result of it was an addition of about twenty oxen, and double that number of sheep and goats, to our live-stock. We were now pretty well provided against all emergences, at least for some time to come. Galton had, moreover, ascended the mountain, with which he expressed himself much struck and pleased. He fully corroborated the story of the natives as to its impregnability, for it was accessible only in one or two places, and these could easily be defended against a whole army by a mere handful of men.

In round numbers, it was about three thousand feet above the level of the plain, and extended in a straight line upward of fifteen miles. The vegetation appeared very much the same as elsewhere in Damara-land, but perhaps more rank. The wild fig-tree grew rather plentifully among the crevices of the rocks, and the travelers obtained an abundance of the fruit, which was very palatable.

Erongo was only inhabited by Hill-Damaras, under the rule of different petty chiefs. From all accounts, they were possessed of numerous herds of cattle; but my friend only saw their tracks, as the natives were unwilling to sell or to exhibit any of the animals. They waged an exterminating war with the Damaras, who lived in the plains below, and,