Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/30

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

north, and accompany him to the southward; promising, at the same time, to pay the whole of my expenses. This offer awoke within me all my former ambition; and, although I could not be blind to the difficulties and dangers that must necessarily attend such an expedition, I embraced, after some hesitation, Mr. Galton's tempting and liberal proposal.

Preparations for our long and hazardous journey were now rapidly made. An immense quantity o goods of every kind was speedily amassed, intended partly for barter and partly for presents to barbarous chiefs. Muskets, long sword-knives, boar-spears, axes, hatchets, clasp and strike-light knives, Dutch tinder-boxes, daggers, burning-glasses, compasses, gilt rings (copper or brass), alarums, beads of every size and color, wolf-traps, rat-traps, old military dresses, cast-off embassador's uniforms—these, and a host of other articles too various to enumerate, formed our stock in trade.

To the above we added, mostly for our own use, guns and rifles, a vast quantity of ammunition of all kinds, instruments for taking observations, arsenical and other preparations for preserving objects of natural history, writing materials, sketch-books, paints, pencils, canteens, knives, forks, dishes, &c.

It was also deemed advisable that we should take with us boats for the navigation of Lake Ngami, those used by the natives being unsafe. We therefore supplied ourselves with three, each adapted for a specific purpose.

Having thus provided, as far as possible, for all emergences, we transferred ourselves and baggage on board the splendid but unfortunate ship, the Dalhousie.[1] Here we

  1. It will doubtless be remembered that, in a gale of wind off the British coast, the Dalhousie was thrown on her beam-ends, and foundered in half an hour afterward, when, with a single exception, every soul on board perished. Out of the several vessels in which I have at different times been a passenger, the Dalhousie is the third that has perished shortly after my leaving her!