Recognized HTML document


[CHAP, v,

thus a heifer is bought from a man for ten sticks of tobacco ; his large hands being both spread out upon the ground, and a stick placed on each finger, he gathers up the tobacco ; the size of the mass pleases him, and the bargain is struck. You then want to buy a second heifer the same process is gone through, but half sticks instead of whole ones are put upon his fingers ; the man is equally satisfied at the time, but occasionally finds it out and complains the next day. Once, while I watched a Damara floundering hopelessly in a calculation on one side of me, I observed Dinah, my spaniel, equally embarrassed on the other. She was overlooking half a dozen of her new-born puppies, which had been removed two or three times from her, and her anxiety was excessive, as she tried to find out if they were all present, or if any were still missing. She kept puzzling and running her eyes over them backwards and forwards, but could not satisfy herself. She evidently had a vague notion of counting, but the figure was too large for her brain. Taking the two as they stood, dog and Damara, the comparison reflected no great honour on the man. Hence, as the Darnaras had the vaguest notions of time and distance, and as their language was a poor vehicle for expressing what ideas they had, and, lastly, as truth-telling was the exception and not the rule, I found their information to be of very little practical use.

I had spent more hours than an untravelled European would easily give me credit for, in questioning and cross-questioning Damaras about the distances we had to go over. Mr. Hahn and Mr. Rath severally, at Barmen and Otjimbingue, had helped me to the utmost of their ability, and yet, on starting, I could not tell whether Omanbonde lay five days off or six weeks. As a proof of the extreme difficulty of worming out facts from the Damaras, I may mention that Okandu Fountain, which lay only five miles from Schmelen's Hope, and where we slept the first day, was unknown by the missionaries. At Schmelen's Hope itself there is only vley (pool) water and wells, which a dry season might exhaust, and though abounding in grass, trees, and garden land, the place was reluctantly abandoned, and the head-quarters of the Mission were established at Barmen which has much fewer natural advantages. When Mr. Kolbe, at a subsequent period, went to Schmelen's .Hope, he merely occupied it as a branch station. Now, constant inquiries have been made for years as to whether there were any fountains near Schmelen's Hope, but without success, and yet this one, lying in full sight and right in the middle of the river-bed, had never been spoken of to