Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/250

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the Hill-Damaras had mixed the juice of the euphorhia candelabrum with the stagnant pool-water for the purpose of killing buffaloes, which were numerous hereabout. Fortunately, by having gone in advance of our party, in the hope of obtaining a shot at these animals, I discovered the poisoned water (easily detected by its peculiar clay color) in time to prevent any serious mischief. Some of the dogs partook of it, but, having previously taken their fill of clear, pure water, they escaped with a heavy vomiting. At this identical place Hans had a short time previously found several dead and dying buffaloes that had been poisoned.

The symptoms with men, after imbibing the poison in question—not the least of the many dangers to which the African traveler is almost daily exposed—are generally a fullness of the system, quick pulsation, giddiness, and a violent "flesh-quake."

Though our cattle suffered dreadfully from want of pasturage, we reached Walfisch Bay on the 5th of December without the loss of a single ox.

The missionary vessel had not yet arrived, but there were two others, a brig and a bark. The master of the first was an Englishman, in search of guano, as also of nitrate of soda, which was reported to exist on this coast. He imagined that he had really found the latter valuable salt, and whispered his discoveiy to us as a great secret. On examining the specimens in his possession, however, it was found to be nothing more nor less than pieces of common soap! part, probably, of the cargo of some wrecked vessel. The action of the water had so altered the soap in appearance that the mistake was really excusable. On learning from us the real nature of his supposed prize, the poor captain, as may be imagined, evinced no little chagrin and disappointment.

The second ship was an American, in search of the sperm whale, which is not unfrequently found in these waters. Our shabby and tattered garments and unshaved faces induced