CHAP. rri.] OXEN VERSUS MULES.
lions out of the Swakop, six in the preceding year, and made it a much safer place than it used to be to drive cattle in. From his account, that river bed must have swarmed with game when it was first seen by Europeans ; but I can easily fancy, from the confined character of the country, how in a short time one or two guns would entirely exterminate them.
In the morning our remaining sheep could not be driven ; he was too scared, and as time was much more precious than mutton, we killed him, took out his inside, and strapped him across one of the oxen, with hardly any delay. I was well mounted on an old ox, and really liked his walking pace very much. I think I can sit i .ore hours on oxback than on horseback, supposing in both cases the animals to walk. An ox's job trot is not very endurable, but anything faster abominable. The peculiarity of the creature is, that he will not go alone, from his disposition being so very gregarious. He is distressed beyond expression when any attempt succeeds for a time in separating him from the herd. It is with great difficulty that an ox can be found willing to go ahead of the others, even though he knows that his fellows are just behind him. Whipping and spurring has hardly any effect on the animal: lie feels every cut most sensitively, as the rider cannot but be aware of; but the obstinacy of his nature is so wonderfully great, that pain has little or no influence upon his determination. His character is totally different from that of a horse, and very curious to observe ; he is infinitely the more sagacious of the two, but never free from vice. The gregariousness of oxen and of sheep is of great advantage to the traveller; for it is not necessary to be perpetually counting the animals, to see if any have strayed ; and at night, when the oxen are all loose about him, a constant anxiety is taken off the owner's mind, by knowing that if he sees one, all are there. My mules had given me a great deal of trouble, by requiring much more watching than the oxen, and I hardly know how I could have travelled with a large drove of those animals. I should not dare to let them loose at night, and the country seldom affords enough trees to tether them to.
We made a tedious ride to-day, taking something to eat at noon, and going on in the evening. I began to see that being able to endure severe exertion for half the day without the breakfast we always have in England, was essential to our sort of life. At first it is very trying. In temperate climates it is easy enough ; but in tropical ones, when you begin work in the fresh cool of the morning, and become hungry and