14 SAND FOUNTAIN. [crras, T.
I have mentioned above the 'tiara, a prickly gourd, which grows here; it is the staple food of these Hottentots, and a very curious plant. In the first place, it seems to grow nowhere except in the Kuisip and in the immediate environs of Walfisch Bay; and in the second place, every animal eats it; not only men, cattle, antelopes, and birds, but even dogs and hyenas. It is a very useful agent towards fixing the sands; for as fresh sand blows over, and covers the plant, it continually pushes on its runners up to the air, until a huge hillock is formed, half of the plant, half of sand. I do not much like its taste ; it is too rich and mawldsh.
The waggons that belonged to the Missionaries in the country came clown to the beach to carry away their supplies, which had arrived by my ship. A vessel would have been chartered for them if I had not previously engaged it. They had arranged that one should be sent every two years to bring them their things of barter-clothes and groceries, and whatever else they might want; for the overland journey was found to be more expensive and less practicable, as it takes quite four months to reach Cape Town from Walfisch Bay, and the roads are so rocky that a waggon is seriously risked by the journey. The oxe i, too, are probably much worn out, and, after all, only some 1,Soo lbi, net weight can be carried in each waggon. On the other band, a vessel from the Cape arrives in a week, and can, of course, carry anything. The trip costs about too; it would be much less if it was nct that the prevalent winds make it a matter of some four weeks to return. Chance vessels hardly ever arrive nowadays at Walfisch Bay; not one had come for more than a year.
All our things were at length landed; the wells at Sand Fountain yielded enough water for the mules ; the storehouses both there and at the Bay were unlocked, and cleared out to receive my luggage ; the tiraggons and cart were pieced together; and the schooner sailed a way.