CIL1P. III. HEAR ILL NEWS.
group of fine trees, and close by a good spring of water. The natives about the station were excessively annoying and troublesome, and I was strongly inclined to make an example of some of thcm ; but I still followed a pacific policy. When my encampment had been planned, and the tent pitched, and bushes placed in a wide circle round the cart, I went to spend the evening with the Missionary, and to hear the news of the country. The first intelligence shocked me very much ; it was that quite recently the neighbouring Namaqua Hottentots had attacked Schmelen's Hope (three long days' journey ahead), had murdered and mutilated the Damaras that lived there, and, naturally enough, terrified the resident Missionary into leaving the place. The cause of this outrage, as far as I could learn, was simply savage barbarism, a little robbery, and a demonstration of dislike to the Missionary cause.
I mentioned, at the beginning of the book, the name of Jonker Africaner as the most important man among the Hottentots ; it was he who headed the expedition.
The effect of this attack, which had occurred after a long peace or pause from fighting, was to frighten every Damara who had cattle to lose into the far interior, so that hardly an ox was grazing within two days' journey north of the Swakop, and to seriously alarm the Missionaries, who had hitherto depended on these very Hottentots for protection from Damara insult. The Damaras that I saw were paupers who had no cows-people who chiefly lived, not on milk, but on roots like pig-nuts, and who collected round a white man with a vague hope of protection from him against their countrymen.
I determined to start immediately for Barmen, the head seat of intelligence as regards Damara and Hottentot movements, and called upon Hans, the next morning, to get, not horsed, but " oxed," for the journey. I found him in the neatest of encampments, with an old sail stretched in a sailor-like way to keep the sun off, and in an enclosure of thick reeds, that were cut and hedged all round. The floor was covered with sheep-skin mats : shooting things, knick-knacks, and wooden vessels were hung on the forked branches of the sticks, that propped up the whole. A very intelligent English lad was acting as his "help." Natives squatted round at a respectful distance, and Hans sat on an ottoman, looking like a Mogul. I had some conversation with him, and saw at once that he was not only willing to accompany me, but that also he was the very man I wanted. I had heard but one