54 HYENA'S INSOLENCE. [CHAP. 111.
among all the Hottentots for the beautiful outline that her back affords, Jonker's wife ranking as the first ; the latter, however, was slightly tassee, while Mrs. Petrus was in full embonpoint. I profess to be a scientific man, and was exceedingly anxious to obtain accurate measurements of her shape; but there was a difficulty in doing this. I did not know a word of Hottentot, and could never therefore have explained to the lady what the object of my foot-rule could be ; and I really dared not ask my worthy missionary host to interpret for me. I therefore felt in a dilemma as I gazed at her form, that gift of bounteous nature to this favoured race, which no mantua-maker, with all her crinoline and stuffing, can do otherwise than humbly imitate. The object of my admiration stood under a tree, and was turning herself about to all points of the compass, as ladies who wish to be admired usually do. Of a sudden my eye fell upon my sextant ; the bright thought struck me, and I took a series of observations upon her figure in every direction, up and down, crossways, diagonally, and so forth, and I registered them carefully upon an outline drawing for fear of any mistake ; this being done, I boldly pulled out my measuring-tape, and measured the distance from where I was to the place she stood, and having thus obtained both base and angles, I worked out the results by trigonometry and logarithms.
Mr. Hahn gave me a very interesting account of the first establishment of the Damara mission. He was permitted to leave Jonker's place after much trouble, and encamped amongst the negroes in company with Mr. Rath and Mr. Bam. None of them knew a word of the language. No European had ever as yet learnt it, and the natives laughed at them and annoyed them most excessively ; they were mobbed, and could do scarcely anything. At last a lazy fellow with his nose half-bitten off by a hyena attached himself to them. He happened, besides being lazy, to be also a particularly intelligent man, and soon understood what the missionaries were driving at, when they endeavoured to get at the pronouns and tenses of this tongue of prefixes. He was of the greatest use to them, and, mainly through his aid, they have, after five or six years' labour, fully acquired the language. Their grammar and dictionary were to have been sent in 1852, to the professor of philology at Bonn, and have probably been received by this time.
This man's nose was seized by a hyena while he was asleep on his back, very unpleasant, and an excellent story to frighten children with.