Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/84

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76
RETURN TO SCHEPPMANSDORF.

every article of our dress. Unfortunately, in the early part of the night we had purposely left the wagon-track to save a very circuitous part of the road, and we had now nothing to guide us. Still, we toiled on as well as we could.

But we had great difficulty in getting the poor Damaras to keep pace with us, who, being naked, suffered extremely. Every ten minutes they would lie down on the cold sand, perfectly indifferent to the consequences. If we had not used the utmost vigilance in keeping them moving, I am quite convinced that some of them would have perished. Toward morning the cold became so intense that I was no longer capable of holding the reins, and therefore dismounted and proceeded on foot. Daybreak brought no relief, for the fog still prevented us from ascertaining our position. The instinct of the oxen, however, came to our rescue, and, by giving them their own way, they soon took us safely to our destination.

 

 

CHAPTER VI.

Return to Scheppmansdorf.—Training Oxen for the Yoke.—Sporting.—The Flamingo.—The Butcher-bird: curious Superstition regarding it.—Preparing for Journey.—Servants described.

Mr. and Mrs. Bam and their family were, I was glad to find, in good health, and, as heretofore, they gave me not only a most kind reception, but placed at my disposal the best of every thing which the house afforded.

It is wonderful what habit and association will effect. When I visited Scheppmansdorf in the first instance, I thought it the most dismal spot that human eye ever rested on; but in the short space of a few weeks it had almost become endeared to me. I found what Shakspeare calls the "soul of goodness in things evil." Dreariness was softened down into peaceful seclusion; the savage country round