Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/166

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only about five days' journey hence, and at the northern extremity of Omuvereoom.

Elephants occasionally visited this neighborhood, and even breed near a fountain somewhat farther to the northward.

After having spent a couple of days very pleasantly at Otjironjuba fountain, we for a short time followed the course of the rivulet which has its rise there; but it was soon lost in a marsh.

On the second day of our departure we came, unobserved, upon a few Bushmen, engaged in digging for wild roots, and succeeded in capturing a man and woman, whom, with some difficulty, we persuaded to show us the water. The dialect of these people was so different to any we had yet heard, that, notwithstanding our two excellent interpreters, we could with difficulty understand them. However, by a good deal of cross-questioning, we managed to make out that they had both been to Omanbondè, which they called Saresab; that the "water was as large as the sky," and that hippopotami existed there. The man, moreover, said that he would conduct us to the lake; but this was only a ruse, for in the course of the night both he and his wife absconded.

Our doubts and anxiety increased as we approached nearer and nearer the inland sea, and all our thoughts were concentrated in the single idea of the lake. The Bushman's story of the water being "as large as the sky" wrought greatly on our expectation.

"Well, Andersson, what should you suppose this lake's greatest length to be, eh?" said Galton. "Surely it can not cover less than fifteen miles anyhow; and as for its breadth, it is, no doubt, very considerable, for the Hottentots declare that if you look at a man from the opposite shore he appears no bigger than a crow."

It would have been well for us had we been less sanguine.

As we journeyed on a course somewhat parallel with Omuvereoom, we fell in with a sort of vley river—if river it could