Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/43

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35
UNPALATABLE WATER.

was of so execrable a quality as to make it totally undrinkable. However, on cleaning away the sand, it flowed pretty freely, and we flattered ourselves that, by a little care and trouble, we might render it fit for use, if not exactly palatable.

After having thus far explored the country, we returned to the vessel. On the following morning, at daybreak, we set about landing our effects, mules, horses, &c., which was not done without some difficulty. As soon as the goods belonging to the missionary should have been removed to Scheppmansdorf, Mr. Bam most considerately promised to assist us with his oxen. In the interval—as there was no fresh water on the beach—we deemed it advisable to remove our luggage, by means of the mules, to Sand Fountain, where we should, at least, be able to obtain water—though bad of its kind—and be better off in other respects.

On the fourth day, the schooner which had conveyed us to Walfisch Bay set sail for the Cape, leaving us entirely to our own resources on a desert coast, and—excepting the several missionary stations scattered over the country—at several months' tedious journey by land to the nearest point of civilization.

On returning to Sand Fountain, our first care was to sink an old perforated tar-barrel in a place dug for the purpose; but instead of improving the quality of the water, it only made matters worse! Fortunately, we had taken the precaution to bring with us from the Cape a "copper distiller;" but the water, even thus purified, could only be used for cooking, or making very strong coffee and tea. Strange enough, when the owner of the house resided here, water was abundant and excellent; but the spot where it was obtained was now hidden from view by an immense sand-hill, which defied digging.

At Sand Fountain we had the full benefit of the sea-breeze, which made the temperature very agreeable, the thermometer