Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/56

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After this little adventure, we continued our route at a pretty quick pace over a hard, crisp, gravely country, totally devoid of water, with scarcely a vestige of vegetation.

It was not until about ten o'clock at night, and after having traveled nearly twelve hours, that we reached a small granite rock, at the foot of which we succeeded in obtaining a few pints of very brackish water. Both Mr. Galton and myself were very tired. In order to save the horses, and to give the men an occasional mount, we had walked a considerable part of the way; and after partaking of some coffee, &c., we quickly resigned our weary limbs to sleep.

At break of day we were again stirring; and while the men were harnessing the mules, &c., I ascended the rock, where I discovered a most beautiful air-plant in full blossom, of a bright scarlet color, with the lower part of the interior of the corolla tinged with lemon.

The sight of such a lovely flower in this dreary and desolate region excited within me some emotion, and I now fully appreciated the touching expression of Mungo Park, when, having in a state of complete exhaustion thrown himself down to die, he discovered at his side a beautiful little moss, and exclaimed, "Can that Being who planted, watered, and brought to perfection in this obscure part of the world a thing which appears of so small importance, look with unconcern upon the situation and sufferings of a creature formed after his own image? Surely not."

Even the mighty Nimrod, Gordon Gumming, whose whole soul one would imagine to be engrossed by lions and elephants, seems to have been struck with equal delight as myself at the sight of this charming flower: "In the heat of the chase," says he, "I paused, spell-bound, to contemplate with admiration its fascinating beauty."

We continued our journey over the same sterile plain (Naarip) till about ten o'clock A.M., when we suddenly entered a narrow and desolate-looking mountain gorge, called