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39   RIDE TO BARMEN,   tCHAP. 211.

opinion of his efficiency and honesty from the Europeans that I had seen, which satisfied me on those points, and the style of the man was exactly what I desired, for he was quiet, sedate, but vigorous and powerfully framed, showing in all his remarks the shrewdest common sense, and evidently, from the order around him, an excellent disciplinarian. We very soon came to terms, which were, that he should go with me to Barmen on trial, and that, if he suited, I would employ him as head servant. I was strongly urged to make a good enclosure (kraal) for mules and men, as the lions were extremely numerous about the low ground in which I had encamped, for the sake of the shade, though they seldom prowled upon the bare cliff on which Hans and the Damara huts were scattered. I therefore collected all the natives together that I could, and set vigorously to work, cutting down all the bushes I could find to strengthen my kraal with, and two days passed very busily. I then left Andersson in charge, and rode on with Stewaitson and Hans towards Barmen, in the afternoon of the second day. Our little caravan consisted entirely of Hans' animals, for all of mine required rest; besides our ride-oxen, we had one ox packed and one loose; three sheep, and two Damaras; our pace was a jog trot, and the Damaras drove the sheep and two oxen in front, while we rode behind and drove on the Damaras. We off-packed after three hours, but it was dark when we did so, and the sheep ran loose, and we could not drive them in together; one ran quite away, and was eaten, I presume, by the hyenas who disturbed us a good deal ; one we killed, and the other we tied to a bush. Hans made me a much more comfortable bed than I had previously enjoyed, showing me how to cut the bushes and make a dead hedge of them ; then he smoothed the ground, and plucking dry grass, strewed it thickly about; upon that he laid two or three sheepskins, over them my mackintosh, and lastly, my eiderdown quilt. This had become torn to rags by the thorns, and I intended on the first opportunity to get a caress instead of it. Sheepskins and carosses are no incumbrance in travelling with pack-oxen, for they are carefully placed under the saddle-bags, and their use in keeping the animal's back from being galled is more than compensation for their weight. I listened with much interest to Hans' tales and anecdotes. He had been the most successful sportsman in the country, and had lived the last two or three years in sole charge of an immense drove of oxen, once amounting to seven hundred, with only one or two native lads to help him in the care of them. He had shot a great many