Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/401

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393
SINGULAR MALADY—EMBASSADORS APPOINTED.

intolerable. I was compelled to go to bed immediately. The next day the affected part was much inflamed. The skin became so tender that I could not bear even the touch of my linen; and when little George applied (though with the tenderest care) the lotion I had prescribed, I screamed with anguish. No position suited me. If I was compelled to change, which could only be effected by another person's assistance, the movement was agonizing.

Apprehending that my illness might be of some duration, and knowing but too well the character of savages, I deemed it advisable to dispatch one or two of my men with a few trifling presents to Lecholètébè, the chief of the Bechuanas and the other people who inhabited the borders of the Lake Ngami, to inform him of my arrival in his neighborhood and the motive of my journey. Timbo, and Piet the Griqua, were selected to carry out my wishes.

While anxiously awaiting their return, we once more ran short of flesh. I possessed a few sheep, it is true, but I was afraid to kill them, not knowing what the future had in store for me.

I therefore dispersed my men over the surrounding country; but, though they met with game in abundance, from mismanagement and bad shooting they were unable to bag a single animal.

One evening I desperately resolved to go to the water myself, in the hope of succeeding better. Accordingly, I ordered my servants to prepare a "skärm," and to carry me there, taking the chance of being run over or gored by elephants or rhinoceroses; for, in my disabled state, it was impossible, should any animal charge, to get out of its way. Seeing my helpless condition, the men remonstrated, but I was resolved to go, and fortune favored me.

I had patiently waited till nigh morning without seeing any thing but hyænas and jackals. I believe these creatures knew I would not hurt them, for they approached within a