Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/36

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ward, and had, moreover, threatened to kill any person who should attempt to pass through their territories with the intention of penetrating to Lake Ngami. This intelligence being equally unexpected and unwelcome, we were at a loss on what to decide. On asking the opinion of the Governor of the Cape, Sir Harry Smith, to whose kindness and hospitality we were, on several occasions, indebted, he strongly dissuaded us from attempting the route in question. "The Boers," he said, "are determined men; and, although I have no fear for the safety of your lives, they will assuredly rob you of all your goods and cattle, and thus prevent your proceeding farther." The counsel given us by his excellency settled the point. We were, however, determined not to be idle; but it was by no means easy to decide on what course to pursue. As the whole of the interior, by which a passage could be obtained to the lake, was either occupied by the Boers, or served as their hunting-ground, we were compelled to choose between the eastern and western coasts. The former of these, however, was well known to be infected by fevers fatal to Europeans; while the latter presented, for a considerable distance northward, nothing but a sandy shore, destitute of fresh water and vegetation. The country intervening between the western coast and the lake, moreover, was represented as very unhealthy.

While in this state of uncertainty, we made the acquaintance of a Mr. M——, who lately had an establishment at Walfisch Bay, on the west coast of Africa, about seven hundred geographical miles north of the Cape. He strongly recommended us to select this place as the starting-point for our journey into the interior, which opinion was confirmed by some missionaries whom we met in Cape-Town, and who had a settlement in the neighborhood of the bay in question.

This route was ultimately adopted by us; but, as vessels only frequented Walfisch Bay once or twice in the course of every two years, Mr. Galton at once chartered a small schoon-