CHAP. r".] RETURN TO REHOBOTH.
much urging. The creatures had eaten, and were fit to return on the forenoon of the next day ; and we returned late in the night to Rehoboth.
I there obtained some valuable additions to my stock of oxen. Timmerman, the one I had just ridden, I bought off-hand : he was a tame sturdy ox ; I also got two couple of front oxen, and some hind oxen. These are the important ones of the team; and if good, the rest are easily made to do their work. I also hired a black waggon-driver, Phlebus, who knew nothing of his own language, but had been a trained Hottentot and Dutch interpreter ; and Swartboy very kindly gave me his henchman, Onesimus, who, besides being by profession his life-guardsman, was his interpreter to the Damaras. These two were most accurate renderers of whatever they were told to say, as could be easily judged from the answers of the persons addressed. Timboo interpreted loosely from either English or Dutch into Damara, but he knew none of these languages well; he had a fiatois of his own. People at first find conversation by interpreters a bore ; but after a little use it becomes no greater hindrance, as it is no greater delay, than dictating or writing a letter. Savages, who are naturally sententious, fall very readily into the system ; and here, where the Hottentots and Damaras are so often brought into contact, every chief is well accustomed to it.
We were a good deal troubled for the want of water on our return the little pool I mentioned was dried up, and we had taken no water with us, for want of a vessel to carry it in. Our Damaras, who drove the cattle, were quite knocked up under the excessive heat, and a Ghou Damup, whose charge it was to carry the iron pot, lay down somewhere altogether exhausted. At night we arrived, and all of us drank water till we were quite ill. I continued resolving to drink no more, and then rewarded my resolution with one more mouthful. One cannot help drinking, the water seems to have no effect in quenching the thirst. The next day we rode but a short distance, as we had to wait for the two men who were missing, and they might be badly put to it. However, they never came. We thought the Ghou Damup had stolen the pot, and absconded in an old soldier's coat, with which I had just rewarded his fidelity. There was considerable doubt if we should find water for the remainder of the journey; and, as our stomachs had been thrown out of order, I hardly liked to go so far without taking some: I could not think what to use as a water vessel, when my eye fell upon a useless cur of ours, that never watched, and only frightened game by