Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/158

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tion is remarkable for its peculiar red stone, which is eagerly sought after by the natives. Having reduced it to powder, they mix it with fat, when it is used as an ointment. I was at first struck by its great resemblance to quicksilver ore, and was led to believe that we had really discovered a mine of that valuable mineral. However, on considering the harmless effect it had on the natives, and that, had it been quicksilver, its use would have produced an opposite result, I came to the conclusion that it was simply oxide of iron, which has since been confirmed by analysis.

On arriving at Kahichenè's werft we were well received by our host and his tribe, from whom we obtained by barter a few head of cattle. Indeed, we might here have sold all our articles of exchange to great advantage; but this was not thought advisable, as, in case of the cattle being lost or stolen, we should have been in a state of complete destitution. Could we, however, have foreseen the future, our tactics would have been different; for, as it afterward turned out, this was almost the last opportunity we had of providing ourselves with live-stock.

By a strange chance, I accidentally became the owner of a percussion rifle, which had at one time belonged to Hans, but who, years previously, had disposed of it to a Damara. The latter, however, finding that he could not obtain a regular supply of caps, offered to exchange it for a common flint-lock musket. The rifle was a very indifferent and clumsy-looking concern, and had, if I remember rightly, been manufactured by Powell, of London. In justice to the maker, however, I must confess that a man could not possibly wish for a better. While in my possession, many hundred head of large game, to say nothing of a host of bustards, geese, ducks. Guinea-fowl, &c., fell to this piece.

Game was abundant in the neighborhood of Kahichenè's kraal, and Hans made several successful shots. Very little, however, of what was killed reached us, for the portion not