Recognized HTML document

xii   PREFACE,

advantages of Ovampoland, as a leverage ground in these matters, should not be lost sight of. The healthiness of the clmate, the position of the country, the intelligence and orderly habits of the natives, their travelling and trading propensities, and, lastly, the ready access which it admits of from a healthy sea-coast, form most cogent recommendation, In addition to these, though bordering on slave-producing countries, Ovampoland is itself exempt from the scourge, and there would be one prejudice the less for Christian teachings to encounter.

A traveller who, starting with the same views that the Author did, chose to start from Little Fish Bay, or elsewhere, in Benguela, and explore to the eastwards and southwards, would be likely to make a very successful journey. He would find shooting in abundance, and have opportunities of learning everything about as highly interesting a race of negroes as is probably to be found in the whole of Africa. The Author's fate certainly led him over a great deal of barren country, and many monotonous days were passed ; still he cannot regret that he undertook the journey, for, besides the enjoyment of robust health in Africa, habits of self-reliance in rude emergencies were acquired, which are well worth possessing, though an English education hardly tends to promote them.

A question is commonly put to explorers, " Why could you not go further when you had already succeeded in going so far?" and the answer to this is, that several independent circumstances concur in stopping a man after he has been travelling for a certain time and distance. He must refit, for his cattle become worn out ; his articles of exchange, which are his money, expended ; and, indeed, the medium of currency among the people he at last reaches being unknown to him, has of course been unprovided for. His clothes, necessaries, luxuries, all become exhausted, and the cajiital out of which he has to support himself fast disappears. Cn the other hand, infinite difficulty is found in acquiring the confidence of a strange natior ; a new language has to be learnt ; native servants refuse, and are unfitted. to accompany their master in countries strange and probably hostile to them, and whom months of joint labours had educated into a kind of sympathy with his cause; and so, when an explorer intends to cross the frontier of a neighbouring tribe, he finds that all his old travelling arrangements are more or less broken up, and that the further progress of the expedition will require nearly as many preparations and as much delay as if it were the!) about quitting the borders of civilisation,