CHAP. T.] ARRIVAL AT CAPE TOWN. 3
I explored the shops of Drury Lane for some theatrical finery, and a magnificent crown rewarded my search, which I vowed to place on the head of the greatest or most distant potentate I should meet with in Africa.
On the 5th of April, i85o, everything seas prepared; I and my boxes were on board an East Indiaman, my last adieu was said, the very last line sent off by the pilot boat, and we were off for the Cape.
I had plenty of occupation on board ship in arranging my things, trying to learn the Bechuana language, practising with a sextant, and reading up books; so that the time passed as agreeably as can be expected in a sea voyage. It so happened that the ship in which I had taken my berth carried a number of emigrants-a fact which the careful agent only let us find out at the last moment-but I liked the crowding and bustle of it amazingly. The emigrants were not in the least in the way of the cabin passengers, for we, of course, had the poop to ourselves ; and looking down from it, the deck had all the appearance of a crowded fair.
The emigrants were a squalid, starved-looking set at first, but six weeks of rest and good feeding made a wonderful change in their condition ; and as we sailed into the warm weather, and they could sit about the decks, they began to think of their personal appearance, and to wash and tidy themselves and put their clothes to rights. It was amusing to see how soon they divided themselves into cliques, and how high and mighty the party that sat under the left corner of the poop were, and how they looked down on those who sat elsewhere. Anyhow, we had a pleasant sail, though some eighty days had passed before we were in Table Bay, and among the white stone and green-shuttered houses of Cape Town.
I intended to make a stay here of a few weeks, and then to sail on to Algoa Bay, whence my land journey was to have been commenced. I therefore took the earliest opportunity of presenting my letters cr introduction, and I hoped that chance would soon throw much information, valuable to me, within my reach. I cannot sufficiently express how much kindness I received during my stay in Cape Town from all my acquaintance there. Everybody that I was thrown with seemed to take the greatest interest in my excursion, and I was referred and introduced to all those whose experience or information might be of any use to me.
I had not, however, arrived many days, when news came that