Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/486

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

And on his knee a pretty wench,
And on the table a bowl of punch?"

In one respect the English clown has an advantage over the barbarian of South Africa, inasmuch as the latter does not appear to make any stipulation in favor of a female companion.

The Bayeye are much given to lying and pilfering, and are as suspicious as they are deceitful. As an instance of their thievish propensities, I may mention that, when ascending the Teoge, they deprived me gradually of almost the entire stock of articles of exchange, consisting chiefly of beads. These things constituted my only money, and being well aware that without it I should not be able to get on, I determined to recover my property at all hazards. But, before proceeding to extremes, I was anxious to acquire positive proofs of the guilt of my treacherous companions. Accordingly, I ordered my own men to mark carefully the different parcels. As soon as the canoes arrived at night at the appointed rendezvous (we ourselves, as I have mentioned, were walking) we hastened to the shore, and, while Timbo was ransacking the baggage, I stationed myself at the head of the canoe, in order to prevent the crew from landing until we had ascertained if any pilfering had taken place during our absence.

Scarcely had my servant opened the first pack before he exclaimed, "Oh yes, master, the rascals have been there, sure enough!" Immediately stepping up to the native who was in charge of the canoe, I presented my gun, on cock, at his head, threatening to blow out his brains if he did not instantly produce the stolen goods. A scene of the utmost confusion now took place. The men appeared at first inclined to be hostile, many seizing their arms, while the women were running to and fro, crying and howling in a manner which baffles all description. However, I was determined, come what would, to have my property back, and I quietly told them that their menaces should be of no avail, for the first individual who attempted to molest me would, to a certainty, be