Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/133

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125
REFRACTORY SERVANTS.

of the missionary-house at Barmen. Indeed, it was high time, for on the third day of our arrival there the Swakop sent down its mighty flood.

The first showers of rain, it should be remarked, usually fall as early as September and October, but the rainy season does not fairly set in until December and January.

A letter from Jonker Afrikaner was awaiting our arrival, expressing a wish that Mr. Galton, in person, would pay him an early visit, that they might confer together on the affairs of the country. My friend was at first a little undecided how to act, as it might only have been a ruse of the crafty chief to entrap him. However, as, under 'every circumstance, it would be better to know his real intentions than to be kept in constant uncertainty and suspense, he determined, as soon as circumstances permitted, to comply with Jonker's desire.

When we bade farewell to Richterfeldt, it was in the firm conviction that the principal obstacles to the expedition had been removed; but we were sadly mistaken. Under different pretexts, the natives whom we had engaged suddenly refused to proceed any further. Even the man who had first drawn our attention to the Lake Omanbonde, and who seemed to be the only one acquainted with it, threatened to leave us. Our Cape servants also became somewhat sulky and discontented. Indeed, two of them, Gabriel and John Waggoner, whom the reader will remember as having already given us some trouble, demanded and obtained their dismissal. Thus circumstanced, it was out of the question to think of immediately carrying our plan into execution. We felt excessively annoyed, and our stock of patience was well-nigh exhausted. Still, we did not give up all hope of ultimate success.

Barmen, however, was ill suited as an encampment; for, though agreeable enough as a residence for ourselves, grass for the cattle was scarce and distant. Mr. Hahn advised us to push on to Schmelen's Hope, situated at about fifteen