74 CONFERENCE A 7 EIKHAMS. [CHAP. iv.
running after them, and whose death I had long had in view. Dogskin is the most waterproof of hides, so I despatched the cur and skinned him. His death was avenged upon me in a striking manner, for during the night a pack of wild dogs came upon us, scattered our sheep who were not well kraaled in, and killed them all. We traced the carcasses of some in the morning by the vultures that settled upon them. Two goats alone remained, which I had bought at Eikhams. Oddly enough, just as we were starting, the goats disappeared: we beat every bush for half an hour, but could not find them. At last we became tired of the search, and continued cur journey, reaching Eikhams at night. To our wonder and amazement, as soon as we arrived, we met the faithful lost Ghou Damup, not only with the iron pot on his head, like a helmet, as he usually wore it, and red coat on his back, but also driving the identical goats we had lost, and which were under his peculiar charge. He had found them walking along the waggon spoor ; they must have run on ahead before we first lost them, and then fallen into the hands of the Ghou Damup, who had himself passed us without knowing it. He felt he had done wrong in staying behind, but he said he was very tired. He had found some roots on the way, and lived on them. After his story, lie brought me a whacking big stick, quite as a matter of course, that I should beat him for what he had done.
The water-skin I had made was not of much use, as the day was comparatively cool. Being fresh from the animal it had to be used with the hair inside. It held the water very well, but gave a " doggy" taste to it. Swartboy and Cornelius were waiting for me; the latter was anything but a chief, either in manner or appearance. Nothing had been heard from Amiral ; it was barely possible that any answer should have been received, owing to the distance.
Besides the three chiefs present, there were a great number of the influential men. I used as interpreters, Phlebus, my new waggondriver, a missionary schoolmaster, and a Griqua: these all spoke Hottentot and Dutch perfectly, and the last two a little English also. I knew enough Dutch myself to be able to check any gross mistake in the rendering from English to that language, and the three interpreters were checks upon one another in the rest. The schoolmaster spoke; the others interrupted if lie was not accurate.
We met together more than once. The meetings were long anc. very orderly, many people speaking, and all to the point. These men