Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/482

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At length, and after about twelve days' voyaging, we reached a large village where the great chief of the Bayeye resided. This was a charming spot, and one to which the most skillful artist would have had some difficulty in doing justice. Located on a small island about two hundred feet long by one hundred in breadth, the village consisted of somewhat more than a hundred houses, standing in the midst of a beautiful group of elegant fan-palms, and some gigantic wild fruit-trees. At the foot of the werft, in a semicircle, the clear, transparent Teoge wound its meandering course. On every side, as far as the eye could reach, lay stretched a sea of fresh water, in many places concealed from sight by a covering of reeds and rushes of every shade and hue, while numerous islands, spread over its surface, and adorned with rich vegetation, gave to the whole an indescribably beautiful appearance. This was particularly the case at sunrise and sunset, when the luxuriant vegetation received additional charms by the brilliant but softened rays of a tropical sun.

I had been given to understand by Lecholètébè that the chief at whose werft I had now arrived was to have provided me with other men and other boats. To save time, as also in accordance with the men's own wishes, I sent my principal guide and others to inform the chieftain of my coming, requesting him to get every thing ready; but, on reaching the place the following day, I found, to my utter astonishment, that he, with all his people, had set out that very morning to hunt the sea-cow; and no one could, or rather would, inform me when the great man was likely to return.

It now occurred to me that I was deceived, and my suspicions at once fell upon Lecholètébè. Still, hoping I might be mistaken, I waited patiently for several days, but to no purpose. In the mean time, the women of the village had secretly informed Timbo, who, as usual, was a great favorite with the sex, that their husbands would to a certainty not return for a month, and that even then I could not expect