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52   AMY PLANS,   [CHAP. Isr,

civil letter. I took the ground of supposing that he had not understood, my last one, and I explained myself over again. My intentions were simply these : if he still intended to obstruct the way to Damaraland, in spite of the long, the carefully worded and well indited letters that I had sent him, and which explained fairly enough what the feelings were with which the Cape Government regarded marauders like himself, I would try if I could not do something personally to further my own plans of exploring as I liked. I had no idea of undertaking a piece of Quixotism in behalf of the Damaras, who are themselves a nation of thieves and cut-throats ; but I was determined that Jonker's contempt of white men should not be carried so far as to jeopardise my own plans, In fact, if lie did not care a straw for me, as the bearer of the wishes of our common Government, I would take my own line as an individual who had a few good guns at command, and would do my best to force my point. Whatever I was to do must be postponed till my men came, so I busied myself as usual with the milder occupations of latitudes and longitudes and mapping. I built a wall, on the top of which I mounted my tent; a hut was made opposite for my two men, and the whole was well bushed in with thorns. I dined most days with Mr. Hahn who lave me most full and accurate information about both Damaras and Hottentots. Timboo improved very much in the language, and was the life and soul of the place, while John Morta watched over my kraal like a dragon, and made the very children cry out with terror when lie scowled at them. Mr. IIahn and I had numbers of the natives up to question them about the country to the north, but very little could be learnt At last a man came to Mr. Hahn and said there was a great lake ten days off, of which he heard I had been in search, and that he would take me there, and the name of the lake was Omanbonde. Its direction was somewhere between north and east. This was just what I wanted-a point to aim at, something to search for and explore. It seemed so very absurd to bring a quantity of men and oxen, and charge the scarcely penetrable hakis thorns which hemmed us in on every side, without something definite to go after. The name was pretty; the idea of a lake in this dusty sun-dried land was most refreshing, and, according to my temperament, I became immediately sanguine and determined to visit it.

A nation called the Ovampo were said to live in that direction,