Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/274

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It was agreed between us that we should barter our wagons, as also every article we could possibly dispense with, for cattle, with which we should proceed to the Cape Colony, where we understood live-stock always commanded a ready market. When we should have turned the cattle into cash, and provided ourselves with every thing needful, we purposed forthwith returning to Walfisch Bay; I with a view of penetrating to the Lake Ngami, while Hans, in my absence, was to trade with the natives. Should he be successful, my share of the profits would materially aid me in following up my geographical explorations, which, I was aware, would be attended with considerable expense.

Though our stay at Scheppmansdorf and Walfisch Bay had been of some duration, it was not sufficiently long to enable the oxen to recover their strength. They had not suffered actual want, but the change of pasturage, more especially as the grass was then young and green, instead of benefiting them, had rather tended to deteriorate their condition. Indeed, more than half of our best draft-oxen died.

The country being at length in tolerable order for traveling, we once more, on the afternoon of the 26th of January, took our departure from Scheppmansdorf, keeping the same course as on previous occasions. Besides myself and Hans, our party consisted of John Allen, John St. Helena, Phillippus, Onesimus, and a few Damaras.

The effect of the late rains began soon to show itself, for even the barren Naarip was in places richly carpeted with grass and flowers, and at every step the vegetation became more luxuriant. As evening, with its lengthened shadows, began to close upon us, the air was filled with balmy and aromatic scents. One little flower, of a milk-white color, was particularly sweet and attractive. I could scarcely realize the wonderful change in the landscape, where, less than a month previously, I might have exclaimed,