Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/273

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state of complete nudity; and, though he had abundance of fuel, he had no means of lighting a fire. Lions and hyænas, moreover, were numerous, and, to add to his misery, the oxen strayed during the night in different directions. In re-collecting them the following day, he had to cross the most rugged and jagged rocks, and precipices, and scorching fields of sand, which severely lacerated and blistered his unprotected feet. Most men, I venture to say, under such circumstances, would have left the cattle to their fate.

As soon as the swollen Kuisip had sufficiently subsided, and the emaciated state of the oxen permitted, I returned from the Bay to Scheppmansdorf. Hans had not been idle during my absence. He had put the wagon in complete order, having replaced the axle-tree (which, in our journey from Barmen, had received a serious fracture) with a new one, and shortened the tires of the wheels. He had also made a new covering for the vehicle. I, too, had made considerable progress with regard to the arrangements and preparations for my intended journey. However, on taking a more close survey of my little property, I found that, notwithstanding Mr. Galton had furnished me with a variety of things, I was very deficient in the most important, such as articles for barter, presents for chiefs, instruments for taking observations, provisions, &c. As none of these were procurable by purchase from the vessel then in Walfisch Bay, I was placed in an awkward position. To proceed without ample supplies of all kinds was not advisable, nor did I much relish the idea of returning to the Cape—the nearest point for a refit—since this could only be accomplished by an overland journey of many months' duration, and the consequent loss of an entire season. Yet, after duly weighing the matter, I determined, though with no small regret, to adopt the latter course.

I now entered into partnership with Hans, who, on his side, threw into the general stock goods, &c., to the amount of about one hundred and fifty pounds sterling.