CHAP. v.J f'ZETF FROM ESHUAMENO. 91
but off-packed among some thick thorns, where the most pitch dark of nights brought us to a standstill. In the morning I went up the hill, both to view the country and to get bearings of Ja Kabaca, by which I could determine its distance from the waggons, and whether or no it would be practicable to reach it in a single stage, should water fail us. I was very anxious about the matter, so I took a protractor up the hill with me, and protracted all my bearings on the spot, by which I had a better idea of the country than I could obtain before for want of well-selected observing stations. I had a very wide prospect indeed from the top of Eshuameno. Southwards I could clearly see Diambotodthu, which is only some twenty-five miles from Schmelen's Hope. Northward extended a wide flat of the most barren country. There seemed to be no grass whatever upon it, but it was studded over with low scrubby bushes ; while eastwards, in which direction we had to travel, the ground was covered with trees and grass. The results of the survey were satisfactory to me, and I determined to risk going across the plain to Ja Kabaca. I was assured of plenty of water being found there. As we returned the rain fell in torrents, in a perfect sheet of water. This was delightful, as it would fill the vleys for us ; but we felt rather cold and hungry when we arrived, after our five hours' ride through it. The little waggon was too full of things for the men to use it for shelter, but they had contrived some tenting, which was sufficient for the occasion.
March 22nd-We were again en route. In four hours a fine vley was discovered, and there of course I stopped. I cannot take liberties with my oxen ; they are disheartened as easily as my men, and I am always afraid of their sticking in the bushes. As for the men, they drink like fishes. I can only carry four meals of water for them.
The next day we arrived at some large wells, in which again there was a sufficiency of water. The cattle were very restless at night, and constantly straying; Hans preferred their lying loose and picking up grass during the night to making a kraal, but I was sadly afraid that some morning they might be missing, and have fallen into the hands of Omagunde's people. Except my cattle, I had not one day's provision ; no biscuit, no flour, nor anything of the sort ; I felt that I had now committed myself in earnest. There was no certain water between these wells and where I first met Kahikene. A month of drought would exhaust every vley on the road, and then unless I rode right U.rough Omagunde's country, the journey would be quite impossible