Recognized HTML document

to   DAMARA FEATURES.   [CHAP. IV.

travelling, then scrambled along a very stony road, offpacked for a couple of hours in a watercourse, and travelled on till daybreak, when we came to the first Damara village, where, after a good deal of explanation and long waiting, we were tolerated and allowed some milk. Hans was my only interpreter. A little bartering took place here, and some sheep were bought. We then rode on down a broad grassy plain, bounded on the left by high mountains, and some more bartering took place at midday; our oxen on each occasion being put under the charge of the captain of the tribe, who had them watered and sent out to grass. I felt nervous at being amongst such numbers of armed ill-looking scoundrels as these Damaras are ; their features are usually placid, but the least excitement brings out all the lines of a savage passion. They always crowded round us and hemmed us in, and then tried to hustle us away from our bags and baggage. They have an impudent way of handling and laying hold of everything they covet, and of begging in an authoritative tone, laughing among themselves all the time. It is very difficult to keep them off; the least show of temper would be very hazardous among such a set of people, and it is hardly possible to amuse and keep them in order without a ready command of their language. I must say that these savages are magnificent models for sculptors, for they are tall, cleanly made, and perfectly upright ; their head is thrown well hack, and their luxuriant but woolly hair is clustered round an open forehead ; their features are often beautifully chiselled, though the expression in them is always coarse and disagreeable. Their whole body shines with grease and red paint (if they can afford those luxuries), and though they are the dirtiest and most vermin-covered of savages, yet the richer class among them are well polished up, and present an appearance which at a short distance is very imposing and statuesque. They call clothes by the same name that they give to the scum of stagnant water; and I must say that in personal appearance, these naked savages were far less ignoble objects than we Europeans in our dirty shirts and trousers.

We arrived at our guide's werft in the afternoon, and I was thoroughly fatigued from heat and want of sleep, and a pretty long ride; but Hans kept watch and bartered perpetually. I could find no shade-there scarcely ever is shade i i Damaraland-but dropped asleep for two or three hours in the full sun, which made me sick and poorly. Gabriel had recovered a little of the spirits that he had lost by travelling, and was now becoming impudent to the Damaras; he had a quick angry