Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/308

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

schmidt and Vollmer, however, I was once more able to appear decently appareled.

But I was soon destined to experience a greater calamity. A few stages south of Rehoboth, which we left on the 22d of April, en route to the Cape, and while camped on the banks of the Hountop, I was attacked by intermittent fever, which quickly carried me to the verge of the grave. My sufferings and privations during this period were indeed severe. Regularly every morning at eleven o'clock I was seized with a violent shivering fit, which lasted three hours. Then came the fever, of almost as long duration, accompanied by racking headache and profuse perspiration. After this my head was tolerably free from pain, but I was so completely exhausted that to turn in my bed was a laborious effort. The climate, moreover, at this season was very trying; for, while the days were moderately warm (the thermometer averaging 65° at noon), the nights were piercingly cold and frosty. At sunrise the ice was from an eighth part of an inch to one inch thick. I became very sensitive to these changes, inasmuch as during the greater part of the illness I was compelled to sleep in the open air, having previously disposed of our wagons to the natives. What little medicine I once possessed was consumed in the recent conflagration, and the missionaries—owing to the fever having broken out most alarmingly among themselves and the natives—were unable to spare me any. To add to my misfortunes, no suitable food was procurable. Milk and meat were my only diet. The latter I could not digest, and the former soon became insipid to my taste. The men, it is true, had once the good fortune to surprise an ostrich in its nest, but the eggs were too rich and heavy for my weak stomach.

Up to this period my busy and roving life had left me but little time for serious reflection. Now, however, that the cares of the world no longer occupied my thoughts, I felt the full force of my lonely situation, During the long and sleep-