Page:Lake Ngami.djvu/86

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was not their proper home, they would resume their airy station. They generally ended by settling near a large reedy fountain; but they were very difficult of approach.

The lanius subcoronatus, a species of shrike, first described by Dr. Andrew Smith, I found to be common at Scheppmansdorf, as also the butcher-bird, which, as known, always impales its prey on some thorn or sharp-pointed stick before devouring it. The Cape people call this bird the "fiscaal," or magistrate, in consequence of a superstitious belief that it represents among the smaller animals what the judge does among men. Many even go farther, and say that the "fiscaal" only administers justice on a Friday; probably from the Dutch court of justice being held in former times on that particular day.

Part of the oxen being at length pretty well trained to the yoke, we made preparations for our departure.

When we left the Cape, the belief was entertained that we should be able to carry thirty or forty hundred weight on each wagon; but on taking into account our young and wild cattle, and the sandy and heavy soil through which we should have to pass, we had, ere this, made up our minds to reduce the quantity to rather less than one third of this weight, or to about fifteen hundred pounds. Even this, as will be shortly seen, proved too great. Accordingly, every article was carefully weighed with the steelyard previously to being stowed away in the wagons.

Before proceeding farther in my narrative, it may be proper to introduce to the reader our traveling establishment, as the character of the several individuals composing it had by this time become pretty well developed. And though among our retainers we had more than one "black sheep," and others whom it was exceedingly difficult to keep in order, yet, taking them together, they were probably a fair average of the servants likely to be picked up by the African traveler. On an expedition similar to the one in