Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/427

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419
THE CHIEF IGNORANT—EXCHANGE VISIT.

caross. This latter, however, he almost immediately exchanged for waistcoat and jacket.

Piet the Griqua, and a Bechuana man, whom a trader (then at the Lake) had kindly placed at my disposal, were my interpreters. After the first salutations were over, I explained to the chief the motives of my visit, the friendly wishes of the British government at the Cape, and so forth. He listened to my story with apparent attention and in profound silence, eyeing me the whole time suspiciously. But he asked no question, nor did he venture any remark.

Having conveyed to him all I had to say, I prepared to depart. Previously, however, to taking leave, I requested him to have the goodness to give me some information about his country, to which he abruptly replied,

"I know nothing at all!"

"Is there, then," I said, "none of your people who can furnish me with some account of it?"

"No," was his immediate answer.

I was annoyed, but felt the necessity of concealing my vexation; and, soon after rising, I said, "Well, Lecholètébè, perhaps, when we become better acquainted, you will be more communicative. In the mean time, when it suits you, come over to my encampment and have a chat, and maybe you will find something there to captivate your fancy."

I had no occasion to say this twice, as I too soon found to my cost. Unlike our fat friend. King Nangoro, who had the courtesy to make us wait about three days before he condescended to see us, the Bechuana chief could scarcely restrain his curiosity for as many hours.

When he arrived I was busy preparing some skins of birds and snakes, which caused no small amount of jesting among his followers. One fellow, more inquisitive and impertinent than the rest, approached close to me, and, seizing one of the reptiles by the tail, held it up before the multitude, which were now thronging my tent to inconvenience, and, address-