CHAP. 11.1 SEND FOR HANS LARSEN.
Swakop, made a grand succession of distances ; but there was a want, even painfully felt, of life in the landscape. The grass was withered, the bushes stunted and sear. No birds could be seen or heard ; and every feature looked still and dead, under that most saddening of lights, a blazing sun in an unclouded sky.
September 28th.-We rested a day, to have a really good breakfast and dinner. I have read in some old-fashioned books of fiction, entitled " Natural History," that an ostrich egg would feed six men; but I know that Stewartson, Andersson, and myself finished one very easily for breakfast, before beginning upon the giraffe. I confess, however, that we enjoyed the blessing of a good appetite.
My mules had become sadly distressed : one was very ill; he had nearly been drowned when landed at Walfisch Bay, and never recovered the accident ; he was therefore seldom harnessed, but was driven along with any other mule that I might be anxious to spare. I tried harnessing my horse once, but his pace and step were so different to those of his comrades, that the work was too much for him.
We were now only two days' journey from the Missionary station Otjimbingue, in which a man of the name of Hans Larsen was now encamped (he who had been to;Erongo), of whom I had heard very much, and whom I had been most strongly urged by Mr. Bam to engage in my service, if I could do so, as he was excellently qualified to take charge of my expedition. My own waggon-men were very thoughtless and careless in their duty, and wanted strict overseering. Hans had been in the service of two cattle-dealers, who successively had ruined themselves by their speculations. He had received payment of his wages partly in goods and partly in cattle, and was now living about the country an independent man, shooting, enjoying the possession of his cattle, and doing odd jobs for the Missionaries. He intended to drive his stock down to Cape Town as soon as the rains had set in, and to make what money lie could by them. Hans had originally been a sailor, but begged to leave a ship that he had become disgusted with, and was allowed to do so at Walfisch Bay, where he entered into the service of the traders I have mentioned above. Having been seven years living about the Swakop lie had had very many adventures there ; and, as it appeared subsequently, had utterly shot off all the game in it. As it was very doubtful if the mules could struggle on much further, we determined, if they came to a standstill, to send on for Hans.