Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/338

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adorned my head. The striped jacket that I wore, now well bleached with sun and rain, had shrunk to such a degree as to reach only a few inches down my back; and as for sleeves, they just covered the elbows, the rest having been left on the "Wacht-een-bigte" bushes. My nether garments, consisting of a pair of moleskin trowsers, were on a par with my jacket, for they hardly reached to the calf of my leg; and, to complete the "turn-out," my "veld" shoes were of untanned leather, and so sunburnt as to resemble bricks. And as Cape-Town at that time could boast of no "Moses and Son," or "Silver and Co.," it was only by degrees, and exploring the different shops, that I was able to remodel my dress.

I lost no time in advertising our cattle; and, having secured a good auctioneer and made some other arrangements, I again set off to join my party.

Just as I left Cape-Town, my horse, which was excessively shy, took fright, and started off at a rate which would have "taken the shine" out of even John Gilpin's runaway steed. In the attempt to stop him, the bit (a very substantial one) broke, and in an instant I was at the animal's mercy. Finding myself in an awkward predicament, and being desirous to shorten the race as much as possible, I unhesitatingly gave him both spur and whip, and, as a consequence, ditches, walls, and fences were leaped and passed at a fearful rate, to the great danger of myself and those I encountered. I do not profess to be skilled in horsemanship, my experience as an equestrian being very small. It was, therefore, as much as I could do to keep my seat. Nevertheless, I had the good fortune to escape unhurt, for after a while my steed became exhausted, and pulled up of his own accord.

I found Hans in good health. The Dutch Boers had once or twice behaved rudely, but the Dane's herculean appearance and independent manner quickly cooled their ire, and he was allowed to pass unmolested. He told his adventures with graphic effect and racy humor.