rz MISADVEN7URE AT STARTING. [CHAP. r,
oxen in five hours. I had tip to that moment no conception that oxen ever Were, or had been, used as hacks, except possibly as a joke; but here were two fine-looking beasts, saddled, and with sticks through their noses, and a thin bridle fastened to the stick, and tied to a log of wood, and really they looked uncommonly well, and not at all out of their element.
We at once proceeded to disembark. The horses and mule.= had to swim ; the sailors managed it rather clumsily, and nearly drowned one ; but at last the creatures were all got on shore. Heavy packages had next to be landed in the dingy, and we got through a deal of work. In the evening I rode with Mr. Barn to the Hottentot kraal by Sand Fountain, and of course listened with great interest to all he had to tell me of the country. With the Damaras he had little or no acquaintance. He was born in the Cape; had made several overland journeys ; spoke much of the difficulty of travelling here, both from want of food and the badness of the road ; and did not hold out to me the slightest encouragement as regarded my journey.
After sunset Mr. Barn returned on board to sleep, and to get a good substantial dinner there, which is not to be despised by a resident in these parts. I pitched my tent on shore, and slept in guard of the things. My men had worked with very good spirit throt:gh the day in landing there, though kt was hard work, and they were wet all the time. Some slept on shore and some on board. 1 had a heavy spar, which Jay on the beach, carried under the lee of the store-house, and picketed my mules and horses to it. The night was very chilly, damp, and windy, and the animals extremely restless. In the morning we found that my two horses had broken loose and escaped. Timboo and John St. Helena went directly on their tracks; but as hours passed, and they did not return, I became much alarmed. On Mr. Barn's coming on shore he advised me at once to send some natives with provisions after the men, as all was desert for forty miles and more round the Bay; the horses would never perhaps be overtaken by the men, who would possibly follow their tracks till they were exhausted, and so be themselves unable to return. I therefore sent two natives directly-Mr. Barn interpreting for me,-one with provisions, and the other with orders to go on after the tracks, and bring the animals back, Late in the afternoon my men made their appearance, looking sadly exhausted. They had gone very far, until they dared not go further; and then, intending to return by a short cut back, soon.