Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/345

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337
ATTACHMENT—A NONE-SUCH.

the arrival of the vessel at the Cape, the boy requested permision to land, in order to enjoy the society of his swarthy friend. This was granted, on condition that he should rejoin the vessel at Simon's Bay.

While doubling the southern extremity of Africa, the unfortunate Birkenhead struck, and, as is well known, was totally lost, with almost all hands on board.

Timbo took every care of the boy, whose life had thus been saved. He put him to school, and afterward secured him a berth with a tradesman in Cape-Town. Finding that the youth was anxious to see something more of the world, and to add to his store of knowledge, I took him into my employ. He accompanied me to the Great Lake, and when, in the course of the journey, I became ill, and crippled by wounds inflicted by wild animals, his presence and tender care greatly relieved and soothed my sufferings.

On Timbo's recommendation, and from possessing a smattering of Portuguese, I engaged a Mozambique liberated slave of the name of Louis; but he turned out the filthiest, laziest, most sensual, and most useless man I ever came across. Just as I was about to engage him, he said, "Of course, master give me my washing and ironing." "My good fellow," I replied, "has Timbo not explained to you the sort of country we are going to? You must thank your stars if you get water enough to wash your face, much less your clothes. And, if you happen to get a sufficiency for the latter purpose, you will certainly have to cleanse your own garments. In the wilderness, according to an old saying, 'every man is his own washerwoman.'"

A young Hottentot, whom I engaged as wagon-driver for the journey, ran into debt, and shuffled his cards so cleverly that I did not become aware of the circumstance until the day fixed for our departure, when there was, of course, no time to look for another driver, and I had no alternative left but to pay his liabilities.