Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/272

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Sudden Floods.—John Allen's Sufferings.—Hans and the Author enter into Partnership.—Young Grass injurious to Cattle.—Depart from Walfisch Bay.—Attractive Scenery.—Troops of Lions.—Extraordinary Proceedings of Kites.—Flight of Butterflies.—Attachment of Animals to one another.—Arrival at Richterfeldt; at Barmen.—Hans's narrow Escape.—Self-possession.—Heavy Rains.—Runaway Ox; he tosses the Author.—Depart from Barmen.—Difficulty of crossing Rivers.—Encounter great numbers of Oryxes.

We were now in the depth of the rainy season. Rain, as already said, rarely falls in the neighborhood of Walfisch Bay; but the gathering of heavy clouds in the eastern horizon every afternoon, and vivid flashes of lightning accompanied by distant thunder, clearly indicated that the interior of the country had been flooded. We had soon a proof of this in the sudden appearance of the long-dormant Kuisip River, which, now swollen to an unusual height, overflowed its banks, and threatened destruction to every thing that opposed its course.

This overflow was equally great in the Swakop, in the lower course of which our cattle were stationed under the charge of John Allen. One fine morning, and without the least previous notice, down came the torrent, and cut him off from the greater number of the animals, which were grazing on the opposite bank. He was an expert swimmer, however, and, boldly plunging into the swollen stream, with difficulty and danger succeeded in crossing. But no sooner had he gained the bank than the river rushed forward with tenfold velocity, and effectually separated him from the camp. Two days and a night elapsed before the water had sufficiently subsided to enable him to return. The sufferings of the poor lad meanwhile must have been very trying, for he was in a