Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/371

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363
SERVANT PUNISHED—PREPARATIONS FOR DEPARTURE.

ed, and I was kept constantly on the rack by their annoyances. One day I was obliged to resort to the very unusual measure of flogging Onesimus, who by this time thought himself too civilized to need correction. Indeed, they were all more or less of this opinion, and wanted their dismissal. Having always been kind and considerate toward my men—too much so, perhaps—I felt disgusted at their ingratitude, and exclaimed, rather passionately, "Yes; go, cowards! go and tell your friends that you have left your master in the desert to the mercy of wild beasts and savage men; go and exult. Your conduct shall not prevent me from persevering in my plans." On more mature consideration, however, they thought better of it, and again returned to their duty with a good will.

After many delays and the most strenuous exertions, every thing was at length in readiness for a start. Before setting off, I wrote to some of my friends at the Cape, and also a letter or two to Europe, intrusting them to Eyebrecht, who returned forthwith to Walfisch Bay.

At noon of the 14th of June we assembled our oxen and began to pack; but, though we labored till our heads turned giddy and our arms were paralyzed, we made but slow progress. No sooner had we finished arranging the burden of one ox than another threw off his pack. It is utterly impossible for those who have never had ocular demonstration of this kind of work with half-wild cattle to understand the difficulty, and imagine the ludicrous scenes that take place. I have already given a faint sketch of the process of training oxen, from which the reader may glean some notion of the obstacles to be surmounted, bearing in mind, at the same time, that instead of a single ox we had ten to load, besides those on which we were mounted, and which were not the most manageable.

At last we were off; but the day was then so far advanced that we were unable to accomplish more than seven or eight