122 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
interested in geography were in a justifiable state of ferment.
My own inclinations were to travel in South Africa, which had a potent attraction for those who wished to combine the joy of exploration with that of encountering big game. The book of Harris, describing the enormous herds of diverse animals that he found on the grassy plains of South Africa, had directed many sportsmen thither who abundantly confirmed his account. Gordon Cumming had just returned to England. Oswell, then in company with Livingstone, and with another companion, Murray, had recently made a joint expedition, in which the desert country which hitherto limited the range of -travel to the northward had been traversed, and Lake Ngami discovered. Consequently the well-watered districts beyond this desert could now be reached by wagon from the Cape. I felt keenly desirous of taking advantage of this new opening, and inquired much of those who had recently returned from. South Africa concerning the conditions and requirements of travel there. But I wanted to have some worthy object as a goal and to do more than amuse myself,
It happened at this critical moment of my life that I was walking with my cousin, Captain Douglas Galton, R. E., then one of the most rising officers of the Engineers, and subsequently Sir Douglas Galton, K (.' 11., of whom I
h~a.ve alreadys~~ol~ett. 1lc siiggesterl lily putting myself in communication with the Royal Geographical Society, where I could learn precisely whereabouts exploration was especially desirable, and where I should be sure to receive influential support. He offered introductions to some of its leading