CHAP. III] MESSAGE TO CHIEFS.
side as the litter moved that I was obliged to make two cushions of grass one on each side of his head, to steady it. At Barmen he was not able to give any further account, as he became delirious and died in a few hours.
I had sent messages to the different chiefs trying to explain what the instructions were that I had received at Cape Town. The way of authenticating messages in this part of the world is curious; it is by giving some token to the messenger which he shows as a guarantee that he really comes from the person he professes to represent, just as our ancestors who were not clever at writing sent their signet rings. 1 could not tell what to send ; it ought to be something very characteristic and not worth stealing-an article that neither grease, rain, nor dirt could spoil, and impossible to be broken. All my things were reviewed, but none were suitable except a great French cuirassier's sword in a steel scabbard, one that I had bought years before in Egypt. This was just the thing. The Damaras adore iron as we adore gold; and the brightness of the weapon was charming in their eyes. They had no idea of its use, as swords are unknown to them, but they considered it as a large knife. I therefore girded my messenger with it in the presence of his companion, and Mr. Hahn translated for me a short message to this effect-That I came from a great chief and a large nation who did not rob as the Namaquas did, but wished to be friends and not enemies with the Damaras, and to send traders into their country; that our land was very fertile, and we did not want any other, but we wanted cattle, and our traders would bring iron and buy them ; that the Damaras must not think when our people come that they are spies, for they are friends, and they must treat them kindly. The messengers then repeated what they had heard, to show that they recollected it, and were given a sheep to cut up and carry for their provision, and started off.. I received civil answers on the messengers' return; but the Damaras are all so hostile to each other, tribe against tribe, that I found it impossible to bring the chiefs together. Still I was glad that I had sent my messages, as it was a demonstration, and that might be of some immediate good to me.