Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/31

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23
DEPARTURE FROM ENGLAND.

found, to our dismay, in addition to a number of other passengers, several hundred emigrants, destined to the Cape of Good Hope. Instead, however, of these people proving, as we had at first anticipated, a great annoyance, we found that they contributed considerably toward enlivening and diverting us during a long and tedious passage.

I am not, however, about to inflict upon my readers the particulars of our voyage to the Cape. Suffice it to say that, after a few days' delay at Plymouth, we put to sea in half a gale of wind, on the 7th of April, 1850, and experienced subsequently the usual vicissitudes of rough and smooth weather. At one time we were carried by a gentle breeze past the lovely island of Madeira, and so near as to distinguish its pleasant vineyards, and neat, pretty cottages, scattered over the mountain side to the very summit; at another we were driven so far westward by gales and adverse winds as to sight the coast of South America, until, at length, on the night of the 23d of June, the much-wished-for land was descried, and on the following noon we anchored safely in Table Bay, after a passage of eighty-six days—a time at least a third longer than the average. How truly welcome to my eyes, as we sailed into the bay, was the fine panoramic view of Cape-Town, with the picturesque Table Mountain rising immediately in the background!

Upon landing, we took up our quarters at Welch's hotel. Our design was to stay a short time at Cape-Town, in order to obtain information respecting our intended route, and to procure whatever was still wanting for our journey. We then proposed to proceed by land northward, taking the course of the Trans-Vaal river. It will presently be seen, however, that our desires in this respect were entirely frustrated. To give to an English reader a full description of Cape-Town would, indeed, be a superfluous task. I fear, also, that in some respects I should be found to differ from other travelers.