86 GIVES ME ADVICE, [CHAP. V,
ceremony was gone through of dragging a berry bush after him wherever he went. I offered to go to Oma,gund&s son and see if I could not get his children and some oxen back for him; for it is a very common custom among the Damaras that when one tribe has utterly ruined another they should then give them back a part of what they had taken, as an act of clemency, which should secure them against retaliation ; and it was but natural that Damara chiefs should pay some little deference to my mediation, since I had just checked the Hottentots from laying hands on their cattle. But Kahiken6 was too proud to receive back part and compromise the matter, though he said that he knew his expedition was but a forlorn hope, and that he would be killed. He said that his best soldiers were gone, and that those with him were but arrant cowards, who would leave him at the first danger. He made these complimentary speeches quite laud, while all his men were sitting around us. He showed us all the scars and cuts with which he was covered, and gave the history of them in an easy chatty way. He criticised my arrangements, and said that I was much too careless in the way I travelled and encamped-that I ought never to allow many Damaras to mix in with my men, because if they made one of their sudden attacks I should be overpowered directly. He recommended the greatest caution in trusting the Damaras. I knew too well the truth of much that he said, but my waggon-men were far too negligent for me to keep up anything like the discipline I should have wished amongst them. At very little trifles they were ready to show discontent, and if I had pushed them too much they would have turned back and left me. Kahikene assured me, and I had heard from other quarters also, that Omagunde's son would not let us pass through his country. I wished to send messengers to him, but no Damara dared to go. His feelings were anything but favourable towards whites ; not long before he had sent men who stole Mr. Hahn's cattle. After a great deal of expostulation had passed he condescended to return them, but curt their tail,off before doing so, and kept them as trophies.
I asked Kahikene about the country ahead, and he gave me much information very concisely and well; his intellect and manner contrasted most strongly with those of the other Damaras. Indeed a chief over many men, whether savages or not, must have something in him, or he could never keep them together, He said that he used to send trading excursions to the Ovampo, but not by Onranbonde, and to quite a different part of their country to that which I proposed visitin;