CHAP. V.] SERIOUSLY OBSTRUCTED BY THE THORNS. 93
Damara, who was some way behind, was carrying my gun, and I had not even a stick.
Resuming our search, we came to where the hill was so broken that I could not get on, Huge jagged rough stones, many as big as a small house, were piled up, and thrown about in all directions, with deep fissures between them ; just the place for a man to fall and break his legs. We found altogether two or three small fountains, but no people.. There were some giraffe spoors high on the hills. Giraffes are wonderful climbers : koodoos arc the best ; but I think that giraffes come next to them, even before the zebras. From the hill we swept the country with our telescopes, and caught the glimmer of distant water between the trees : there was to be our next halt. The Damaras pointed north-east, as the direction of Omanbonde, but said that it still lay a great way off. We "marked" the vley as well as we could, and took the waggon there,-three hours' travel before breakfast. The watershed was now obviously to the eastward, the distant country dropping down most perceptibly. I had been hoping to see fewer thorn-trees, but here they were worse than ever. My oxen would not face them ; a single bush threw the whole team into confusion : tht oxen plunged and tossed, and got their heads out of the yokes ; and often the waggon-men conld not get up to the fighting creatures on account of the thorns. Flogging is of little or no use; the animal is essentially perverse and vicious and calls for almost superhuman patience. From I i A.M. till nightfall we were labouring through the thorns, that threatened soon to become impervious. Our clothes and hands were sadly torn ; but still we pushed on steadily. Not a blade of grass was to be seen; and when we outspanned, a pitch dark night had set in ; the oxen were roaming about,-we could hardly see them in the thick cover. When the morning broke, a few oxen remained, and the rest were gone. Away went half the men, without any breakfast, running a steady pace, for we feared the oxen might get back even to Kahikene's werft. They were overtaken beyond the vley, as they were walking steadily back. In the meantime I had gone on to see how far we were from the stream Otjironjuba, our next watering-place. To my delight, I found it close by, only an hour and half off, full of running water, and like a trout-stream, with meadows of grass about it. It came out from a cliff of Oniuvercoom.
In the evening we brought the waggons up, and encamped beside it, about two miles from the hill. Here we stayed two days, in happy 8