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SOUTH-WEST AFRICA   127

keeping the newly discovered lands about Lake Ngami to themselves and of refusing passage through their territory to every Englishman. Sir Harry Smith said it would be useless for me to attempt to

go as I had proposed. After a tedious journey of more than two months by ox wagon, I should meet with Boers who would politely but firmly tell me that I must go no farther. If I attempted to force a way, they would shoot me, and he would be powerless to prevent them.

I had made many friends in Cape Town, and numerous suggestions were offered as to other ways of reaching the district of Lake Ngami. The one I adopted had many arguments in its favour. A cattle-dealer thenn in Cape Town had made occasional ventures to Walfish Bay. The coast around it was desert, but the Namaqua Hottentots drove cattle there for sale, which would otherwise have been sent overland to the Cape by what is practically a four months' journey. The country between Walfish Bay and the Namaquas could be traversed by wagons. There were mission stations in Namaqualand, whose headquarters were in Cape Town. Nay more, a new missionary was waiting for an opportunity to go there, and if I took him with the other things now waiting to be sent, I should be helpful to the missionaries, and they would doubtless be all the more inclined to help me. Again, to the north of the yellow Namaquas were the black Damaras, the interior of whose land was as yet quite unknown, though two or three mission stations had been established along its southern border.

Here, then, was a land ready to be explored, by