CHAP. V] LEARN A LITTLE AND TRAVEL ON.
endeavouring to avoid the thorns. The guides were sulky, and could not, or would not, tell us anything. We pulled on for many hours with thick thorn-bushes about us, and not a drop of water to be seen, as the sandy soil had sucked up the rain : however, the oxen went well. Towards evening we turned down a long vista, and the waggon was moving noiselessly over the soft ground, when we saw five or six bushmen and women squatted in a row on the ground, with their backs towards us, crowing pig-nuts. They did not see us till we were close upon them. We caught a man and woman, and made them show us the water. A little man, who got away from us, was very funny, and stuck to his wife manfully. Ha danced about her with a bow and arrow, making offers to shoot at us, and was in a wonderfully excited state of mind. We did not approve of the arrow, and let him and his wife go their ways. These people were thorough Namaquas in feature, but darker in colour, exactly like the Walfisch Bay people. The man we caught was tall, certainly above six feet. One sees now and then very tall, bony men among the Hottentots ; though, as a race, they are diminutive, He had his wallet full of young birds, just taken out of the nest, linnets and such like, to eat. He gave us much better information than the Damaras. Phlebus said that the man talked backwards and forwards, and that he could hardly make out what he said. Anyhow, when he did, the answers were very direct. The Bushman name for Omanbonde is Sareesab: as to its size, I heard exactly the same variety of accounts that I did among the Damaras. The man said that the water of it was as broad as the heavens ; the woman, that it was perfectly dry ; but both agreed that there were hippopotami in it. There could be no doubt about the animal meant; they used the ordinary Hottentot word for them, and mimicked their actions so completely, that it was evident they had seen them; and where hippopotami are there water must be. They gave us a very true account of its distance, calling it four long days for a man on foot.
Phlebus and Hans shot a brace of gemsboks. The water we slept by lay among reeds, and seemed to be the head of an ill-defined watercourse, down which we went.
March gist.-We picked up the gemsboks by the way, and passed a large and deep vley, in which there were some red and white geese. There are geese and ducks on every large pool of rain-water.. They must be taking advantage of the rainy season, and travelling