Recognized HTML document


found in the Hottentot country, one en a high table-mountain, where the sickly season could he passed by them in safety ; some few horses had had the distemper and recovered, and these were kept at hand. Jonker had always a few of these about him. The exchange price of a horse among the Hottentots here is from eight to ten oxen, but they were hardly ever sold, as a horse is invaluable for marauding purposes. Cattle cannot be swept off by a few men without their aid, for as soon as the attack is made, the oxen run off in all directions, and it is almost out of the power of a man on foot to overtake and turn them, but they are quite at the mercy of a few horsemen.

There were large herds of zebras about, that came down nearly every afternoon to drink, but I soon gave over trying to shoot them. It here required a very long stalk, as the broad open river-bed had first to be crossed ; and there were four or five hangers-on about the place with their guns, who would run down and have their shots ; besides these there were savages with their bows and arrows. Often, after an hour's hard and careful manoeuvring, the game was seen to be startled, and a ball from a zealous sportsman was whizzing at them from some ridiculous distance. The captain of the werft made good and steady bags of game with his bow and arrows, getting a zebra about every other day ; but then he had to slave at it, and often follow the wounded animal's spoor for great distances. The lions also killed several, and they supplied the natives pretty well. The Damaras were always on the look out, and, guided by the vultures, appropriated in the morning whatever beasts the lions had left half eaten.

I employed myself in breaking-in my remaining mules to carry packs and saddles; they were too few now to draw my cart, but use might be made of them in some other way. They were troublesome, sensible creatures, not kicking at random, but always with an aim. We had several tumbles, but succeeded in teaching them the elements of their duty. It is much more difficult to break-in animals in the open country than it is in an enclosure, because, when you let them go, which you cannot help doing sometimes, they gallop off, and it takes a very long time, often an hour, and plenty of running, to turn and catch them again ; besides this, each chase scares and frightens them all the more.

Eight days had now passed since I had returned from Barmen, and a fortnight since the cart first arrived here, in Otjimbingue. The time had been spent pretty actively, a great deal had been learnt, one very bad character weeded from among my men, and on the evening of the