Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/55

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47
DEPARTURE FROM SCHEPPMANSDORF.

to a stand-still. Only a few can be trained as leaders. Such animals are always selected as have a quick step, and of themselves are in the habit of keeping ahead, and apart from the rest of the herd. Oxen of this description at all times hold the first rank in a traveling caravan.

At length, after great exertions and endless delays, we were able to fix upon the day for our departure. Our arrangements were as follows: On the cart, which was drawn by eight mules, we placed about one thousand pounds, consisting chiefly of guns, presents for chieftains and others, articles for barter, implements of natural history, bedding, &c. Six hundred weight (ammunition and provisions) were besides distributed among four "pack"-oxen and one mule.

The object of the expedition being entirely for the purpose of obtaining cattle for draft and slaughter, we were given to understand that after about eight to ten days' journey we should arrive at some native villages, where we might procure any number of beasts required. Our course, as far as we could understand, was to the northeast, and through an exceedingly wild and sterile part of the country.

On the morning of the 19th of September we left Scheppmansdorf. The young cattle proved exceedingly unmanageable; and we had not been on the road many minutes before a small handsome ox, which from the very beginning had given us much trouble in breaking-in, left the herd, and was apparently about retracing his steps to the missionary station. To prevent this, Galton and I endeavored to head him, on which he set off at a rapid pace. On finding himself hard pressed, however, he suddenly wheeled round and rushed toward my friend at headlong speed. Thinking it merely a demonstration, Mr. Galton remained stationary; but by so doing he nearly lost his life, for the infuriated beast charged home. Fortunately, however, his horn merely grazed my friend's leg, though it inflicted some injury on the shoulder of the horse.