94 HOW TO MAKE SOAP. [CHAP. V
idleness, climbing the hill, bathing, shooting francolines, and having a good clothes-washing.
I must here make a digression on the subject of soap, an article that we had to make for ourselves, as I found that I had not brought nearly enough from Cape Town. This is one instance out of a vast number in which the missionary or the traveller is thrown upon his own resources. Our process of making it took a week or ten days to complete. It was as follows : the cook having saved as much fat as he could from the meat, until his store accumulated to half a bucket-full, or more, and a great quantity of wood, or shrub-ashes, having been collected, those plants alone being used whose ashes taste acrid, a savage was set to work at making two very large clay pots, which is an easy thing to do when proper clay can be obtained ; in one of these we put the ashes, and let water stand upon them ; in the other, under which a fireplace was built, we placed the fat. A Damara of sedentary disposition was then employed to superintend the process to the end, he or she having simply to keep up the fire under the grease-pot, and from time to time to ladle into it a spoonful of the ash-water or ley. This ash-water is sucked up by the grease ; and in ten days the stuff is transformed into good white soap. The difficulty lies in selecting proper ashes. Those of most plants make the soap too hard; those of others too soft; but when the juste milieu is hit, all goes on excellently. The missionaries have now brought their soap-making to perfection ; they only use the ashes of two plants, both of which grow in abundance near Otjimbingue ; and practice has taught them the exact proportion in which they should be mixed to make " a superior article."
From the top of Omuvereoom, about Otjironjuba, nothing but a wide bushy extent could be seen. The brook sprang from several boggy spots, and fell in pretty cascades down the hill.
March 29M.-We started very early from our agreeable restingplace, and followed the Otjironjuba : it soon disappeared in its sandy bed; and after three hours the country had become so arid, that I out-spanned, to let the oxen take a good drink at the last pool of water we could see. The rain now came down in such deluges that the harness, of undressed leather, became too soppy to handle, and the men could not hold the oxen in the reins when they had caught them; so we stopped there all night.
March 301/t.-We again started early, and strayed a great deal; for we had no certain point to aim for, and our chief object was