Recognized HTML document

CHAP. iv.]   A BLACK COQUETTE.   63

nothing wild to feed on except baboons and steinboks; however, the Ghou Damup have plenty of sheep and goats, and these the leopards attack. The summit of Erongo is a succession of ravines clothed with thorn-coppice and a great deal of cactus; the effect is pretty, and I should much like to live there for summer quarters. Along the ravines a few wild fig-trees grow. After a couple of hours of up and down walking, in which we started a magnificent leopard, we arrived at the chiefs tverft, and I liked its situation and effect very much,-it was not in the open flat, like those of the Damaras, who fear the neighbourhoods of any cover which might conceal an advancing enemy, but among rees. It was also built more durably. The Damara huts have but one room; they are like those I described at Walfisch Bay; these were rather complicated. The franie-work of the hut was generally made by growing trees, a clump of which was selected and their lower branches thinned ; then the tops were bent down and pleached together ; the trees in the middle dividing the huts into two or even three rooms. The shape on the outside was like a snail-shell, the entrance faced to the leeward. Going into the chief's hut, the entrance led straight into the main apartment, on either side of which were rooms, one of them for the chiefs wife. There were plenty of utensils about, such as wooden milk-bowls, pipes, and so on ; there was a stuffed ottoman, and the whole place had a great appearance of comfort. The chief was a gentleman, and very courteous. Though Hottentot was his language, yet he spoke a little Damara, in which language we talked to him. He had a charming daughter, the greatest belle among the blacks that I had ever seen, and a most thorough-paced coquette. Her main piece of finery, and one that she flirted about in a most captivating manner, was a shell of the size of a penny-piece. She had fastened it to the end of a lock of front hair, which was of such length as to permit the shell to dangle to the precise level of her eyes. She had learnt to move her head with so great precision as to throw the shell exactly over whichever eye she pleased; and the lady's winning grace consisted in this feat of bo-peep, first eclipsing one eye and languishing out of the other, and then with an elegant toss of the head reversing the proceedings.

Her papa would sell me no oxen nor sheep ; he insisted that he had none, though the place was full of tracks. But these people are very running to strangers, lest the stranger should think proper to steal their cattle. I very much regretted that I had not a good interpreter, as I had taken a fancy to the chief, and should have liked to have had a