Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/343

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335
ALL ALONE—REFLECTIONS—PROCURE INSTRUMENTS.

pedition, and nearly one hundred pounds sterling in ready money. This change in our original plans proved of great inconvenience to me, inasmuch as we had already sunk every available shilling of our small capital in the intended expedition to Walfisch Bay. However, it was all successfully arranged, and in the early part of January, 1853, they took their departure.

Thus once more I was alone. I could not help reflecting on the difficulties of my position. Two of the best men that, perhaps, ever set foot on African soil, with whom I had shared hardships and privations of no trifling character, had left me to seek their fortunes in remote climes. On me alone, then, devolved the task of watching over and improving the united interest of myself and Hans. Another duty, not less urgent, claimed my attention, namely, that of solving the grand geographical problem—the discovery of a route from the west coast to the Lake Ngami.

On mentioning my trying position to some Cape friends, they coolly advised me to dispose of my goods and return to Europe. I turned in disgust from the proposal, which only served to urge me to renewed exertions. My spirits rose in proportion to the difficulties.

Immediately on the departure of Hans and John Allen, I hastened to attend to my own affairs. I was tolerably well supplied with every thing but servants and instruments for taking astronomical observations. After much search and many bargains, I succeeded in getting together a very fair set of the latter, consisting of a large, good-working sextant, a box-sextant for taking angular bearings, two artificial horizons (one of colored plate-glass mounted in brass, with leveling screws, and another for mercury), an excellent azimuth compass, one or two good pocket-compasses, three boiling-point thermometers for ascertaining heights of places above the level of the sea, two telescopes, one for common fieldwork, and the other large enough for occultations, a chro-