144 MEMORIES OF MY LIFE
be of a much higher order and to be feared. Probably that new view of their value helpedd us considerably. We were quite at the mercy of Nangoro ; our cattle grew thinner daily on the very scant pasturage to which they were restricted, and Nangoro would not give me permission to go farther. It was as much as our oxen could do to take us back at all, and having at length received permission, or orders (I know not which), to return, I did so with mixed feelings--regret at having to turn back, relief at getting away safely. The Ovaml4o were suspicious of us, but seemed particularly happy and social among themselves, and to be a people well worthy of friendly study. But the spirit of what is elsewhere known as " taboo " reigned everywhere, and simple inquiries were too frequently met with the rejoinder of " You must not ask." I had very good interpreters between the Damara and Ovampo languages.
My fears of ill-usage were shown not to be fanciful, by the fact that a party who followed me some years later were attacked as they departed, and had to fire in self-defence. According to one of many
rumours, a stray bullet killed Nangoro himself, at a considerable distance, while he was sitting within his own stockade. The party got safely away, but were in great danger.
The return journey to the wagons was indeed difficult. One bitterly cold encampment in a hollow on the bleak plain, where we were comparatively safe from a night attack, seriously tried the constitution of some of my best ride-oxen, who never afterwards became as serviceable as they were before. The wagon was however mended, all had gone well