Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/342

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at the Australian gold-diggings, and the same mania, though not quite to the same extent, which had turned the people's heads all over the world, took possession of the inhabitants of this colony. Every available vessel was bought up or chartered for the "diggings." I began seriously to apprehend that this would deprive us of the craft we had engaged. Indeed, the owner did actually sell her, but, fortunately, placed another at our disposal, the alteration, however, causing us very great delay.

Though the loss, at this period, of the assistance of Hans would have been grievous and irreparable, I thought it my duty to explain to him the respective advantages of remaining with me and going to Australia. By adhering to the trading, he would be pretty sure to secure a fair income annually, while by adopting the other plan he might have the chance of realizing a fortune in the course of a year or two. I urged that if he felt at all inclined to try his luck at the "diggings," he should not hesitate; for, in that case, I would take charge of his goods and dispose of them as if they were my own. Hans evidently appreciated my well-meant intentions, but generously refused to do any thing that was not in strict accordance with my own wishes. However, I could not take advantage of such an offer in his position, but told him to think the matter well over by himself, and to be entirely guided by his own inclination.

After much hesitation, Hans finally came to the determination to migrate to Australia, and John Allen having also expressed a wish to accompany him, I drew up an agreement between them of such a nature that they might dissolve partnership if they wished, without detriment to either. With regard to myself and Hans, we agreed to share each other's fortunes, though far apart, bad or good.

Matters having been thus far settled, I immediately arranged about the passage of the two adventurers; provided them with a supply of every article necessary for such an ex-