Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/35

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27
PREPARATION FOR JOURNEY INTO THE INTERIOR.

of the beast. At length they began to despair, and it was a question if they should not beat a retreat; when an individual, more sagacious than the rest, stepped forward, and suggested that a hole should be cut in the animal's hide, by which means easy access might be had to its vitals, and they could then destroy it at their leisure! The happy device was loudly applauded; and though, I believe, the tale ends here, it may be fairly concluded that, after such an excellent recommendation, success could not but crown their endeavors.

We had now been at Cape-Town somewhat less than a week, and had already added considerably to the stock of articles of exchange, provisions, and other necessaries for our journey. To convey the immense quantity of luggage, we provided ourselves with two gigantic wagons, each represented to hold three or four thousand pounds' weight, together with a sort of cart[1] for ourselves.

Mr. Galton bought also nine excellent mules, which could be used either for draft or packing; two riding horses; and, in addition to these, he secured about half a dozen dogs, which, if the truth be told, were of a somewhat mongrel description.

Mr. Galton also engaged the needful people to accompany us on our travels, such as wagon-drivers, herdsmen, cooks, &c., in all amounting to seven individuals. Our preparations being now complete, we were about to set out on our journey, when, to our dismay, we received information which entirely overthrew our plans. It was reported to us that the Boers on the Trans-Vaal River (the very line of country we purposed taking) had lately turned back several traders and travelers who were on their way north-

  1. The term "cart," in this sense, implies a large, roomy, and covered vehicle, capable of holding four or six individuals, and from five hundred to one thousand pounds of baggage. It is usually drawn by six or eight mules or horses.